Blasting away enemies in video games boosts brain’s learning
Blowing away enemy soldiers and aliens may be good for the brain, as researchers have found that fast-paced action video games improve a player’s learning ability.
People who play video games such as Activision Blizzard’s “Call of Duty” are better able to multitask, perform cognitive tasks such as rotating objects in their minds and focus and retain information better than non-players, said Daphne Bavelier, a research professor in brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester in New York. They also have better vision. The reason is the games help people learn, even those who aren’t regular players.
“People who play action video games get better much faster,” said Bavelier, who has a joint appointment at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. The skills are seemingly unrelated to each other and hard to practice, she said.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, explains the diverse benefits that stem from faster learning. The insights from the study may be used to improve education or to help people with strokes or other brain injuries.
Players were better able to predict what was coming next, even when they were asked to identify patterns that had nothing to do with the game. Non-gamers also improved after researchers assigned them to play a game like “Call of Duty” for as long as two hours a day, five times a week for two months. The benefits lasted as long as a year.