Video games are a ubiquitous part of modern life.
Worldwide over 260 crore people play video games, most of them under 35, and nearly 40 percent of them female.
As with every new form of media, the recent rise in popularity of video games led to some bad coverage that linked playing video games to violent behaviour, depression and even addiction.
However, prior research has shown that good video games are actually better for a person mental well-being. Now, new research has shown that playing action-intensive video games could make them better at certain visual and memory skills.
Researchers observed over 75 participants across Switzerland and the United States for the study. The participants were split into roughly equal groups and were randomly assigned to play 45 hours of intense video games or games that unfold at a much slower pace.
“Games are really powerful, complex experiences,” Shawn Green, lead author of the paper and a psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison said in a press release. “We know they produce interesting changes in behaviour, but their level of complexity makes them hard to study.”
People undergo physical training to improve their athletic abilities. Similarly, playing action-intensive video games such as first-person shooter – which reward swift and accurate tracking, as well as quick reactions – help boosts cognitive abilities, according to the researchers.
“If you’re increasing the equivalent of athleticism for perceptual-cognitive abilities—like visual attention or speed of processing—that should allow you to learn faster when you’ve got a new task that calls on those abilities,” Green added.
Researchers say that not all training activities produce equal benefits. Most activities can help develop a certain skill or ability, but it’s only limited to that ability. Therefore, any activity that can simultaneously help develop a broad range of skills or at least more than one can be very advantageous.
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