Why Playing Video Games Can Make You Smarter

Why Playing Video Games Can Make You Smarter

Why Playing Video Games Can Make You Smarter

We recently posted about how despite their negative reputation, playing video games is actually associated with a number of unexpected positive health outcomes. Continuing with our theme of video games and surprises, today we’re here to show you how video games can help you not only become healthier, but also smarter! Struggling at school or work? A video game session might be just what you need. As a reminder, these benefits come from playing video games in moderation. Too much of any one activity, be it video games, studying, or exercising, can actually have negative effects on our functioning.

So how exactly can video game playing fire up those brain cells? Let’s have a look.

Blog-59_VideoGamesMakeYouSmarter_TeenGirlAndBoyOnCouch-300x200 Why Playing Video Games Can Make You SmarterBetter Decision Making. This is especially true of action video games. A study found that people who played action video games for 50 hours were just as accurate and faster at making decisions on non-game-related tasks than those who played strategy-based or role-playing video games for the same amount of time. With peripheral images constantly popping up, moving around, and disappearing, the brain becomes better at taking in sensory data and translating them into correct decisions. Furthermore, action video games can enhance low-level perceptual functions. Action video games that can help with decision-making speed and accuracy include Halo, Unreal Tournament, and Call of Duty.

Blog-59_VideoGamesMakeYouSmarter_BoyAndGirlOnCouch-300x200 Why Playing Video Games Can Make You SmarterImproved Hand-Eye Coordination and Motor Skills. Playing video games helps tune fine motor skills and trains you to link those skills to quick visual cues. One study found that kids who played interactive video games had better object motor skills, such as kicking, catching, throwing, and bouncing a ball, than those who played non-interactive video games. What’s more, surgeons who spend a few hours a week playing video games perform better than those who don’t. For this reason, many aspiring surgeons are required to perform virtual surgeries as part of their training. In a study comparing virtual surgery performance among high schoolers and medical students, it was found that the high schoolers actually performed better simply because they had more time to spend playing video games. So if you think you want to be a surgeon, start preparing by getting your game on! Wii and High Altitude Battle are great interactive video game for improving motor skills.

Blog59_VideoGamesMakeYouSmarter_3Generations-300x128 Why Playing Video Games Can Make You SmarterImproved Focus and Attention. Those who play action video games perform better at perception-based tasks, such as pattern discrimination, than those who do not. A study conducted at the University of California, San Francisco used a game called NeuroRacer, which tested players’ ability to keep an eye out for a specific type of road sign while racing. Seniors who played the game for 12 hours over the course of the month-long study performed better than young adults who were playing the game for the first time. Six months later, the seniors were better at multitasking and had stronger attention skills. In fact, the increased attention span associated with action video games has even been found to improve reading skills in children with dyslexia.

Blog59_VideoGamesMakeYouSmarter_OlderMen-300x200 Why Playing Video Games Can Make You SmarterImproved Memory. The same NeuroRacer study described above found that seniors who had played the game for 12 hours over the month were able to retain more information in a short period of time than the younger adults who did not have experience playing the game. Another study found that games with complex 3D virtual environments, such as Super Mario 3D World, provides the brain with meaningful stimulation, and those who plays these games perform better at follow-up memory tasks than those who do not.

Increased Brain Matter. A study found that playing Super Mario 64 for 30 minutes a day was linked to an increase in grey matter in the right hippocampus, the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and the bilateral cerebellum, which are responsible for spatial navigation, strategic planning, working memory, and motor performance. It is hypothesized that playing the game can treat people who have decreased grey matter in these areas, which is a risk factor for such illnesses as PTSD, schizophrenia, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Enhanced Ability to Learn. Fast-paced real-time strategy games can enhance brain flexibility since they require constant thinking and input. Participants in a study who played Starcraft were better able to manage multiple sources of information, with translated to real-life tasks as well.

Blog-59_VideoGamesMakeYouSmarter_BoyOnCouch-300x200 Why Playing Video Games Can Make You SmarterIf you feel that your brain needs a little bit of a boost, pull out that Xbox or PlayStation and get gaming! If you want to learn more about video games or want to share or instill your love for video games in others, the perfect place to do it is Konversai—the world’s greatest online platform for sharing any and all human knowledge sharing. Konversai connects providers of knowledge with seekers of knowledge on any topic of interest through one-on-one live video conversations. The platform gives knowledge providers the opportunity to make extra money sharing their passions, skills, and experiences with others on their own time and from the comfort of their home and knowledge seekers the opportunity to receive tailored, personalized information on exactly what they’re looking to learn from an actual human being. All users on Konversai are encouraged to be both knowledge providers and knowledge seekers on any and as many topics as they wish, be it gaming, technology, health and fitness, languages, academics, makeup, travel, food and cooking, books, musical instruments, or something else entirely—no matter how commonplace or obscure. Any and all knowledge, skills, and experiences have value on Konversai. The only limit is your imagination. Get in on being part of this fast-growing community by signing up now!

By Pavita Singh


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