“Game on to prevent mental game over?”

If you would like to boost your cognitive ability or functioning, simply play a video game. Extensive research has been conducted by various teams around the world to see just how gaming affects human cognition. Gaming may get a bad reputation from the past controversies that involved laziness, violence, obesity, addiction and lastly social isolation (To that I would probably say that balance is everything), however, modern research has found that gaming can also benefit human life. Some of the benefits of game playing for children may include the development of logical, social, executive, and literary skills. Research was conducted by researchers C. Shawn Green, Adam Eichenbaum, and Daphne Bavelier, they were able to find and demonstrate that playing video games has long-lasting positive effects on basic mental processes (Decision-Making, Memory, Attention, and Perception). The majority of their research focused on the effects of playing action games (Those of which require fast movements, keeping track of multiple items at once, keeping track of a lot of pertinent information, and split-second decision making). A majority of the skills associated with playing video games are exactly the abilities that psychologist tend to consider the “building blocks” of intelligence. The researchers designed a correlation study as well as an experimental study to determine the effects of playing video games on cognitive ability and/or function. The correlation study had regular gamers perform on a perceptual or cognitive test along with non-gamers that are still comparable to the avid gamers. Various research teams have found that the gamers tend to outperform the non-gamers on these different test. The research suggests but does not prove that playing video games is the cause of the improved cognitive performance. The experimental studies that were conducted by various research teams were centered around non video game players. A group of participants are asked to play video games for a specific amount of time while the other group is asked to refrain from gaming. The two groups then will have their cognitive abilities tested, research found that the participants that were asked to play video games performed better than the control group (no video game playing) on perceptual and cognitive tasks. Video game playing has been found to improve basic visual processes such as contrasting colors and it has also been found to improve amblyopia (Lazy Eye). Gaming has also been found to improve spatial attention (Locating object/target in a field of distractors) and the ability to track moving objects that are in a field of distractors. Some more positive findings are that gaming can increase mental flexibility (Switching between tasks quickly and error free that have conflicting requirements) as well as reducing or even reversing the gradual mental decline that accompanies normal senescence (Aging). To make it even better playing video games can improve and equip you with job-related skills such as hand-eye coordination, working memory, attention and swift decision making. An interesting find is that relatively young and inexperienced surgeons that play videos games outperformed some of the most experienced in their field. I think that it is great that all my hours of video gaming may not negatively affect me as much as my parents may have initially thought. My parents don’t play video games; I now have more of a reason to get them to play. “Hey Dad, play this game or potentially develop Alzheimer’s.”



Gray, P., Dr. (2015, February 20). Cognitive Benefits of Playing Video Games. Retrieved April 22, 2016, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201502/cognitive-benefits-playing-video-games


2 thoughts on ““Game on to prevent mental game over?”

  1. jwebb3

    I think this is an awesome topic to post about, especially since it provides me with an excuse for the countless days I’ve poured into various video games throughout my life. For years I’ve hated the fact that my Xbox tracks the amount of hours I put into each game because I felt like it was evidence of time wasted, but now, thanks to your post about this article, I can claim that they are hours that might have contributed to an increase in my cognitive skills and/or functions. I wonder if any follow up studies have been conducted to determine if different platforms affect the increase in cognitive ability any differently (a Wii versus an N64)…

  2. mkong

    This was such an interesting blog post that made me smile because I no longer feel as guilty having had played video games so often in my past. I used to think my brain is “rotting” because of how long I was spending on my PS2 or Wii, when really, it was helping cognitively. I also used to think that video games were just a positive reinforcement pleasure to pass time, but after reading your blog post, I now see them as ways to improve your cognitive abilities in multiple ways! I wonder if playing video games in general, but especially games that involve driving helps teenagers to learn how to drive faster and better than other teenagers who do not play video games on a regular basis. The point that you made about how video games can help with making quick decisions may be a reason why video games could help teenagers with learning how to drive faster than students who do not play video games. I feel like video games that involved racing helped me when I was taking driving lessons back in high school, but it would be really interesting to find some evidence for this possible argument. The ways in which playing video games can help with decision-making, spatial attention and more is shocking and great news simultaneously! I loved your ending to this post. We all now have more reason and excuse to play video games. I can hear all other video gamers cheering in the background with this news.

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