The world tells you that video gaming and constantly looking at the screen is bad for your eyes and brain.
But guess what?
A new research conducted by the University of Arkansas, has shown that just one hour of video gaming can increase the brain’s ability to focus. Published in the journal, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, here is what it says.
Participants: 29 male students at the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China participated in the study.
Video gaming expertise level: Some were “experts” with atleast 2 years of experience playing action video games & were ranked in the top 7% of League of Legend players. Others were “non- experts” with less than half an year of experience and were ranked in the lowest 11%.
Pre- test & Post – Test: Before and after playing the games, all the participants ability to focus on relevant information and avoid distractions was assessed. Since brain processes consume energy, those participants who were able to focus while zoning out distractions were able to use their brain more efficiently.
Experiment: To testhow far the subjects were able to focus, the subjects were shown a square in the center of the screen and another in a different part of the screen. They were then asked to identify the position of the second square relative to the first. Researchers also used EEG to monitor brain activity.
Results: The expert gamers had more brain activity both in the pre- test and post- test rounds. After an hour long video game session, both experts and non- experts had better improved focusing ability. The non- experts also showed improved brain activity.
Some of the benefits of video gaming are summarized as below:
- Slows down “brain aging”: As the mind is actively engaged during gaming & brain speed increases, mental health issues are reduced.
- Improves hand –eye coordination: As the player will need to coordinate his visual, auditory and physical movements during the game, he will enhance his visual-spatial skills.
- Improves memory: As the brain will need to remember instructions given at the start of a game, as well as master the keys of the keyboard, the memory power increases.
- Source of learning: Video gaming enhances cognitive & creative skills.
- Multitasking ability increases: As the video gamer will need to remember which player or movement will come from which part of the screen and move the joystick accordingly, he ends up becoming a multitasker.
- Ease pain: By focusing on something other than one’s body, video games help ease any physical pain.
- Improve decision making skills: To swipe left or right? To abandon or stay on in the game? By having to make quick decisions in the course of the game, decision making skills of the video gamer increase.
- Reduce stress: Video gaming can help to reduce stress and mental exhaustion experienced by an individual during the course of the day.
- Improved social connections: Video games can be a common source of discussion and help individuals connect better to others in their peer group.
- Video gaming careers: Those individuals, who gain enough expertise in this domain, can look at building and thriving on video gaming careers itself.