Author Topic: Playing video games may sharpen your mind.  (Read 2538 times)


  • Old Person™
« on: May 28, 2003, 09:13:01 PM »

Study: Playing video games not so mindless

NEW YORK (AP) --All those hours spent playing video games may not be wasted time after all: A new study suggests action-packed video games like "Grand Theft Auto III" and "Counter-Strike" may sharpen your mind.

Researchers at the University of Rochester found that young adults who regularly played video games full of high-speed car chases and blazing gun battles showed better visual skills than those who did not. For example, they kept better track of objects appearing simultaneously and processed fast-changing visual information more efficiently.

To rule out the possibility that visually adept people are simply drawn to video games, the researchers conducted a second experiment. They found that people who do not normally play video games but were trained to play them developed enhanced visual perception.

Useful to train soldiers?
Exactly why video games have this effect is not clear. The researchers said more study is needed.

They said the findings suggest that video games could be used to help visually impaired patients see better or to train soldiers for combat.

The study was published in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature and was led by Daphne Bavelier, an associate professor of brain and cognitive sciences.

Parent groups and anti-violence advocates contend that the bloodshed in some video games triggers aggressive behavior in young people, as some hotly disputed studies have suggested. They blame violent video games for such crimes as the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.

The new study did not directly address how video violence affects behavior. Instead, the experiments focused on a person's ability to recognize and interpret symbols and letters after playing video games.

Violence not addressed
"Some people think that video games are turning kids into supergeniuses or psychokillers," said Kurt Squire, an educational game designer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Games-To-Teach Project, who was not part of the study. "The reality is probably close to this, where people can process visual information much quicker and be able to discern between different types of information."

Soldiers who grow up playing video games do better in processing information on a screen or operating long-range unmanned aerial vehicles that can film or photograph enemy activity on the ground, according to military experts.

"There are some very avid video gamers in the military. The people who have been playing video games all their lives seem a lot more comfortable in some of these kinds of environments," said Lt. Cmdr. Russell Shilling of the MOVES Institute at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

Details about the study
In the Rochester study, 16 men ages 18 to 23 took a series of tests that measured their ability to locate the position of a blinking object, count the number of simultaneous objects on a screen and pick out the color of an alphabet letter. Those who played video games for the previous six months performed better in all those tests than those who did not.

In a separate test, a group of 17 who never played video games were trained to play the military game "Medal of Honor" and the puzzle game "Tetris." After playing for 10 days, those who learned "Medal of Honor" scored better on the performance tests than those who didn't.

Pamela Eakes, president of the Seattle-based Mothers Against Violence in America, said scientists need to look more closely at the effects of video violence on habitual video-game players.
“Evolution has shaped us with perceptions that allow us to survive. But part of that involves hiding from us the stuff we don’t need to know."

Chupperson Weird

  • Not interested.
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2003, 10:21:07 PM »
It's not the games making people violent. It's people who are violent already, who incidentally play video games.
That was a joke.


  • Old Person™
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2003, 10:25:09 PM »
I agree.


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“Evolution has shaped us with perceptions that allow us to survive. But part of that involves hiding from us the stuff we don’t need to know."

« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2003, 01:43:09 PM »
I agree as well. The video games are just an excuse. People are naturally violent.

The good- Gamecube. The bad- PS2. The ugly- X Box

« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2003, 05:27:41 PM »
Yeah, like Bruce Banner. I saw this story on NBC last night. I wonder if Jay Leno will make a joke about it tonight?

« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2003, 03:01:45 PM »
Wow. The statistical importance of a whopping 16 men overwhelms my puny brain.

“I’m a stupid fatty and I love to play with my Easy Bake oven!”


  • Old Person™
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2003, 06:15:26 PM »
LD, I agree that the research used too small of a sample space.  But, I think the results at least suggest that further research is waranted.  I will voluteer if they need anyone my age to play the next Mario game.

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“Evolution has shaped us with perceptions that allow us to survive. But part of that involves hiding from us the stuff we don’t need to know."

Black Mage

  • HP 1018 MP 685
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2003, 06:33:02 PM »
 U of R, eh? The University of Rochester is only an hour or so away. Not that it matters.

 From what I've read, it doesn't seem they've found anything really that shocking. What is upsetting, but unchanged, is that people honestly believe video games are the cause of violence. It's no worse than music, in my book. But hey, scapegoats are nice.

« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2003, 08:19:35 PM »
Especially their milk.