Video Games Can Improve Decision-Making Skills, Study Suggests

Video games remain a much maligned art form – engagement with the medium is often viewed negatively, believed to contribute to chronic issues such as addiction and social isolation. They are even accused of acts of violence and terrorism — indeed, the The public association of video games with actual violence, particularly in light of the increasing mass shootings in the United States, remains strong. But a series of studies over the years suggest otherwise. The latest suggests that video games could help improve the decision-making skills of those who choose to engage in them.

Published earlier this month in the journal Neuroimage: Reportsthe study included 47 young adult volunteers in a experience. 28 of these volunteers were gamers, typically engaging in high-action real-time games, such as first-person shooters, real-time strategy games, and “battle royales” or “games of war”. ‘arena’ as a team. The scientists placed screens displaying a series of dots in front of the participants and asked them to press buttons in response to the direction in which they were moving.

The researchers found that the regular gamers in the participant group were both faster and more accurate in their responses. Additionally, the researchers also used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure neuronal activity in the volunteers. The scans showed that the players felt increased activity in certain parts of their brain associated with cognitive processing: the left thalamus, the right lingual gyrus and the right supplementary motor area..


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“Video games are played by the overwhelming majority of our young people for more than three hours a week, but the beneficial effects on decision-making skills and the brain are not exactly known,” said the co-author of the report. study, Mukesh Dhamala, in a press release. Timothy Jordan, the study’s other co-author, also noted how the game helped him deal with his own childhood eyesight problem. Jordan had weak vision in one of his eyes; to solve this problem, he was asked to play video games while covering the good eye, concentrating only with his weaker eye, and this ultimately helped him to strengthen the visual processing of that eye.

Long-term studies of the harmful effects of video games have indicated that there is no real association between participation in screen-based games and real-life violence. On the contrary, there is a body of research on video games that has indicated how engagement with the art form can help improve learning abilities and motor skills. A study of Red Dead Redemption 2 players, for example, showed how players discovered wildlife and became more ecologically aware through the animals and environments featured in the game.

Popular perceptions that cast video games in a negative light — such as associations with mass violence and drug addiction — aren’t rooted in solid research, but there are still some concerns. In 2018, the World Health Organization officially included “gaming disorder” in its International Classification of Diseases – although this remains hotly debated. Additionally, engaging video games with long hours of playtime are also associated with a more sedentary lifestyle. These stereotypes have led to an image of video games as a medium that only provides simplistic entertainment while seriously harming those who engage in them, but they are rarely seen as something that could be beneficial.

There are also cultural issues of exclusion and access control; studies describing the benefits of video games also inadvertently raise questions about who the benefits extend to. Toxic bullying and misogyny run rampant in the gaming community: In 2014-2015, in an incident known as “Gamergate”, male gamers waged a year-long campaign of harassment against game developers. games and media reviews. Bullying and harassment in the gaming space has not stopped since then. There are also larger structural issues with gaming culture as a whole, such as excessive and unnecessary sexualization and objectification of female characters in games, which in turn discourages the participation of more women. women as players. The issue of participation therefore remains one that has not yet been actively addressed by media creators and consumers. Engagement with the art form can only be truly meaningful when all who participate in it are welcomed openly and treated with equal respect, regardless of race or gender – or the benefits of engaging in it may not benefit only a few.