Benefits of Video Games on the Brain: It is a debate that never ends, and that resurfaces every so often with the same arguments. In essence, video games fry your brain, they are bad for your eyes, they distract you from the important things in life, they make you antisocial or, even worse, in someone violent.
However, each time these arguments have come under scientific scrutiny, they have been found to be false.
Benefits of Video Games on the Brain
With the first video game players already becoming grandparents, the recent premiere of the Spielberg movie Ready Player One, and Donald Trump blaming video games for mass murder perpetrated by teenagers. Perhaps this is an excellent time to remember that video games, far from harming your brain, they improve it, at any age.
Video Games Grow the Brain and Prevent Dementia
A team of German neurologists studied 23 people playing Super Mario 64 half an hour a day for two months. MRI scans revealed that gray matter had increased in the hippocampus, the prefrontal cortex, and the cerebellum, which are the parts of the brain responsible for spatial perception, memory, strategic planning, and motor coordination in the hands. This makes video games a possible therapy for patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases, which precisely cause those parts of the brain to shrink, such as schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress, and Alzheimer’s.
Video Games Increase Intelligence
A University of London study examined the results of psychological tests on people who had played Starcraft or the Sims strategy games. The result is that it increased its cognitive flexibility, which is the brain’s ability to adapt to change, and the basis of that which we call intelligence. The researchers suggest that these games may also help with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and brain injury.
Video Games Keep You, Young
If lifting weights is the best thing you can do for your body and mind as you age, video games can also slow the aging of your brain. The researchers from the University of Iowa found that volunteers over 50 years playing for at least 10 hours a month to a video game in which they had to drive a car saw as the decline of their cognitive abilities stopped, making the brain will rejuvenate for up to seven years. The control group, who did crossword puzzles, did not experience these improvements.
Video Games Improve Eyesight
This may come as a surprise, but action video games actually make your vision better. In a 2009 study from the University of Rochester, volunteers playing Call of Duty were compared to others playing Sims 2. The group that was shooting experienced an increase in the contrast sensitivity of their eyes, or the ability to distinguish changes in the luminosity of an image. This opens the door for video games as a way to correct vision defects.
Video Games Don’t Make You Violent
One of the myths of psychology is that exposure to violence in video games like Grand Theft Auto produces desensitization, a loss of the ability to empathize with human suffering. And therefore, they are factories of psychopaths like adolescents in the United States who decide to shoot their classmates to death. Leaving aside the fact that in a country consumed by video games like Japan, violent deaths by firearms are almost unknown, there are already studies on violence and video games, and the verdict is that video games are innocent.
In a study of 90 young people, GTA, or the Sims, were asked to play in groups, and then they were introduced to an MRI scanner to measure their level of empathy by presenting images of someone hurting their hands. The reaction to other people’s pain was the same in all groups.
Video games are a form of narrative and artistic expression, but much more than that, they are a way of interacting with stories in which we make decisions and learn new skills. Ultimately, video games also teach us how to live.
What is All This Based on?
Playing Super Mario induces structural brain plasticity: gray matter changes resulting from training with a commercial video game.
The video game training presented could, therefore, be used to counteract known risk factors for mental illness, such as the smallest hippocampus and prefrontal cortex volume in, for example, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and neurodegenerative disease.
Real-Time Strategy Game Training
The emergence of a Cognitive Flexibility Trait. Theoretically, the results suggest that distributed brain networks that support cognitive flexibility can be tuned by absorbing the video game experience that emphasizes the maintenance and rapid manipulation of multiple sources of information. In practice, these results suggest ways to increase cognitive function.
The visual speed of processing training delivered on-site or at home to middle-aged or older adults using a standard home; computers yielded Stabilization or improvement resulted in various cognitive function tests.
We found that the very act of playing video games also improved contrast sensitivity, providing a complementary route for improved vision.
The Myth of Blunted Gamers
No Evidence for Desensitization in Empathy for Pain after a Violent Video Game Intervention in a Longitudinal fMRI Study on Non-Gamers.
We found no evidence of desensitization in the empathy network for pain in the violent video game group anywhere moment.