Video Games Boost Brain Power, Multitasking Skills

Our regular readers know that we are interested in education games to build persistence and achievement. Michelle Trudeau of NPR brings a realization to the the world of gaming and how it affects every part of our lives. Below are excerpts from Video Games Boost Brain Power, Multitasking Skills:
Daphne Bavelier is professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester. She studies young people playing action video games. Having now conducted more than 20 studies on the topic, Bavelier says, “It turns out that action video games are far from mindless.”
Her studies show that video gamers show improved skills in vision, attention and certain aspects of cognition. And these skills are not just gaming skills, but real-world skills. They perform better than non-gamers on certain tests of attention, speed, accuracy, vision and multitasking, says Bavelier.
They are able to detect, for example, new information coming at them faster. So as a result, they are more efficient. And Bavelier also says that gamers can switch from task to task much faster than non-gamers, making them better multitaskers.

“We see that typically in people that don’t play action games, their reaction time [on tests of multitasking] lengthened by 200 milliseconds, which is something like 30 percent,” Bavelier says. “But in gamers, it lengthened only by 10 percent.”

Brain researcher Jay Pratt, professor of psychology at the University of Toronto,  Pratt says playing these video games changes your ability to learn, and to find and integrate new information.

“Video game players are able to pick up very subtle, statistical irregularities in environments and use them to their advantage,” Pratt says. “And these same irregularities in environments are the things that help us guide our behaviors on a daily basis.”

Adam L. Penenberg of Fast Company writes in his article, How Video Games are Infiltrating–and Improving–Every part of Our Lives, that games are sneaking into every part of our lives — at home, school, and work. Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, and even the Army depend on games. and Pretty soon, you’ll be a part of one. We guarantee it.
James Schell states that 97% of 12-to-17-year-olds play computer games and Malcolm Gladwell states that 350 Million people spend a combined 3 billion hours per week playing games. Although, gaming can be a taunting issue for some, it does it fact improve decision making, vision and hand-eye coordination, even improving statistics for surgeons accuracy during surgery.
One of the companies in the forefront of gaming would be IBM who just came out with CityOne:

a free interactive game targeting business leaders, city planners, and government agencies, with more than a hundred crisis scenarios that require the application of new technologies to create more efficient water use, lessen traffic congestion, and develop alternative-energy sources.

Between major corporations, the Army, and UPS, gaming is not only child’s play– it is the future of education.

Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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This is great for future surgeons, airplane pilots, and crisis management folks.
If I had kids, I'd still severely limit playing time. The ability to reason abstractly and limit oneself has a bigger premium than ever.


This research is conducted for corporations wishing to employ highly skilled labor force which will FOLLOW rules. The inherent assumption here is - the corporation exists and the labor force must follow rules. This research does NOT analyze abstract reasoning and creativity - where the real money lies and the leading edge of the US economic future. Otherwise, this research is great for all non-critical-thinking high-skilled labor such as surgeons and pilots.

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