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Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Benefits of Video Games

We all hear how computer games are bad for youth. They sit inside, are less active, can affect social skills, can affect school work or, in some extreme cases, violent video games have been connected with mass murders. Whether or not these accusations are true is still up for debate - but what is interesting is a study released recently proclaiming the positive benefits of video games, in particular - action games.

"Cognitive scientists from the University of Rochester have discovered that playing action video games trains people to make the right decisions faster. The researchers found that video game players develop a heightened sensitivity to what is going on around them, and this benefit doesn't just make them better at playing video games, but improves a wide variety of general skills that can help with everyday activities like multitasking, driving, reading small print, keeping track of friends in a crowd, and navigating around town."

The researchers tested dozens of 18- to 25-year-olds who were not ordinarily video game players. They split the subjects into two groups. One group played 50 hours of the fast-paced action video games "Call of Duty 2" and "Unreal Tournament," and the other group played 50 hours of the slow-moving strategy game "The Sims 2."

After this training period, all of the subjects were asked to make quick decisions in several tasks designed by the researchers. In the tasks, the participants had to look at a screen, analyze what was going on, and answer a simple question about the action in as little time as possible (i.e. whether a clump of erratically moving dots was migrating right or left across the screen on average).

The action game players were up to 25% faster at coming to a conclusion and answered just as many questions correctly as their strategy game playing peers.

"It's not the case that the action game players are trigger-happy and less accurate: They are just as accurate and also faster," Bavelier said. "Action game players make more correct decisions per unit time. If you are a surgeon or you are in the middle of a battlefield, that can make all the difference."



In short, they concluded that as the brain makes hundreds of calculations every second based on the visual and audial data provided. This is 'Probabilistic inference.' An example provided: "As you drive, for instance, you may see a movement on your right, estimate whether you are on a collision course, and based on that probability make a binary decision: brake or don't brake."

The sci-fi world often talks about humans of the future being faster or stronger or taller - perhaps a future of action-gamers will make this, at least partially possible - just another thought: maybe cars will be faster, to match our faster reflexes or time limits for 'spot the difference' games will have to be reviewed?

Link to article

1 comment:

  1. Informative read describing the video games. Video games are make the children creative and the ability of decision making is increased. I am agree that they take the smart decision. Thanks for sharing such useful post with us.

    ReplyDelete

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