Video games and brain games


Natalie Rodriguez, Staff Writer

Can video games improve intelligence or decrease it? There are many studies that have different opinions about video games, but people still do not know which is true.

Scientists from Queen Mary University of London conducted an experiment involving 72 volunteers to play video games for 40 hours over six to eight weeks. They had one group play StarCraft and the other play The Sims and the results were predictable: the group that played StarCraft were quicker and more accurate at cognitive flexibility tasks.

Although The Sims game does not require any memory or skill to play the game, other games such as violent video games seem to be beneficial to intelligence.

Dr. Brian Glass, from Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, states:Previous research has demonstrated that action video games, such as Halo, can speed up decision making but the current work finds that real-time strategy games can promote our ability to think on the fly and learn from past mistakes.”

Other studies suggest that all video games, violent or not, can improve intelligence. Steve Johnson, author of Everything Bad is Good for You believes since video games require a number of specific tasks to win, the challenges cause players to use problem solving skills; the more they play, the more their intelligence increases.

In a recent study by the University of Rochester, participants were asked to count the number of squares which were flashed on a screen for a 20 seconds. Gamers guessed the right number 13 percent more often than non-gamers. Johnson says “They’relearning how to think in ways that will be absolutely useful to them when they go out in the world and do the same kind of thinking in an office.”

Many say video games benefit intelligence, but only in moderation. Yu-Kai Chou, gamification pioneer, believes they are a form of self-indulgence but often provide skills such as fast thinking and can facilitate learning.

A video on Youtube by Asapscience states “too much of anything is bad… but those who play for a limited time proved to have a significant increase of memory, fine motor skills of the hands and strategic planning,”, suggesting that there are positive effects just as much as negative effects, it depends how much you play every day.

Just like everything we do, moderation is key. If you let an activity take over it only weakens you, so if you want to play your favorite game of Super Mario or Call of Duty play it with moderation.Video games and brain games