When I was a kid trying to tackle Bo Jackson in Super Techmo Bowl (not an easy thing to do) or fight my way through the Contra waterfall scene (yes, I still remember the cheat code), my parents would always say something like…
Via this serendipitous discovery from NPR…
Neuroscientists say playing video games may help children develop better vision, attention, and spatial cognition skills. And these skills are not just gaming skills, but real-world skills. They perform better than non-gamers on certain tests of attention, speed, accuracy, vision and multitasking, says Bavelier.
Video game players are able to pick up very subtle, statistical irregularities in environments and use them to their advantage, Pratt says. And these same irregularities in environments are the things that help us guide our behaviors on a daily basis.
If you look at professional piano players, professional musicians, you see this phenomena where they don’t activate as much of their brain to do very complicated things with their hands that the rest of us need to do. And we found that the gamers did this as well.
The non-gamers had to think a lot more and use a lot more of the workhorse parts of their brains for eye-hand coordination, Sergio says. Whereas the gamers really didn’t have to use that much brain at all, and they just used these higher cognitive centers to do it.
To be perfectly honest, I haven’t played a video game (other than maybe Tetris or online Galaga) in probably 3+ years and my last purchase was Halo 2 (I haven’t even upgraded to the Xbox 360), but this work by Bavelier et al presents an interesting conclusion: playing ultra fast, action based games where strategy and problem solving is required (Black Ops, Halo, etc.) is actually a neuro-stimulative activity that can improve your real world performance and boost brain power.
So… how you like ‘dem apples… Mom and Dad?!?
(Note: the gentle ribbing and “I Told You So” of your Mom and Dad is encouraged by forwarding them this post.)
Image by MPR529