Are Video Games Good for the Brain? Recent Research Says Yea!
Video games get quite a bad reputation in media these days. They are frequently mentioned as cause of a range of maladies in the younger generation ranging from obesity to increased penchant for violence.
But a lot of studies are coming up in the recent years that counteract these claims, and state that gaming, in fact, could be beneficial for your brain as it has a large impact on expanding and sharpening your cognitive abilities.
How Gaming Helps Your Brain
Let’s take a look at the ways gaming can positively impact your brain functions.
- Improves attention and focus – A 2012 study by Green and Bavelier found that
playingaction-based video games improvesour spatial attention; that is the ability tolocatea target stimulus from a bunch of stimuli present, and also keep trackofit. Gaming trains your mind to discard unwanted spatial information and keepiton a single track, thereby improving focus.
- Improvesreflex and response time – Gaming
honesskills like hand-eye coordination andaudio-visual information processing. Your “fight or flight” response worksovertimeand as a result your response to non-game situations too becomesquickeras your mind is trained in quickly assessing and responding tosituations. Improvesmemory– Gamingimprovesyour ability to recognize and differentiate between patterns, which isasign of improved long-term memory. It also improves your working orshort-term memory by giving your brain solid practice in retaining information. Betterdecision-making skills – A long-term exposure to gaming has been linked to animprovementin decision-making ability, as it trains your mind to constantlypickand choosebetween relevant and irrelevant stimuli. This contributes instrengtheningyour decision makingskills, as it’s largely dependent on yourabilityto choose between desired and undesired actions.
youmulti-task by improving flexibility – Multiple researcheshave shownthatplaying video games increase your ability to switch rapidly and withouterrorbetween tasks that have conflicting demands. This is an excellent skillwhenit comes to multi-tasking.
problemsolvingskills – Gaming has positiveimpact on a lot of functions that are importantforyour day-to-day functioning like attention span, working memory, mentalflexibility, reasoning skills etc. All of these make up our executivefunctioning, i.e. problem solving or the ability to “get things done”. Itpromotescreative thinking and quick response time, which are crucial skills inproblemsolving.
mentaldecline–your mental flexibility and memory decline naturally with age. Several studieshavefound that a long time exposure to video games and gaming practices cankeepyour brain flexible for a longer period of time because of the constantpractice. This results in an agile and working brain even in advanced age ,whichimproves your quality of life in the sunset years.
ConclusionToo much of anything is bad, and the same goes for gaming. If you are addicted to games and are ignoring real-world responsibilities due to that, then it is a problem. But purely as a practice, gaming has multiple positive effects on your brain and cognitive abilities. Moderation anda more or less fixed gaming routine can keep the negative effects in