Teens who play video games are often faster and more skilled at making decisions – News

A recent study conducted by researchers State University of Georgia found that young adults who play video games often exhibit improved decision-making skills and better functioning in key brain regions compared to non-gamers.

“The vast majority of our youth play video games for more than three hours a week, but the beneficial effects on decision-making skills and the brain have not been well known,” researcher Mukesh Damala said in a statement.

He added: “Our work provides some answers to this. Video games can be effectively used for training – for example, decision-making efficiency and therapeutic interventions – once the relevant brain networks are identified.”

The lead author of the study, Tim Jordan, says that the impetus for conducting the study came from a childhood experience. The researcher had poor vision in one eye and took part in a study that instructed him to cover his good eye while playing video games to improve the vision of the weak.

Jordan credits this training with helping him transition from being legally blind in one eye to someone with strong visual processing abilities. The experience allowed him to play lacrosse — a team sport that uses a club with a net at the end — and paintball, which was the impetus and basis for the research published in recent days.

Study details

The survey included 47 college-aged participants, 28 of whom were classified as regular video game players and 19 as non-players. Members were placed in an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) machine with a mirror that displayed moving dots.

Youngsters had to press a right or left hand button to indicate the direction in which the dots were moving, or not to press them to indicate they were not moving.

Ultimately, the researchers found that video game players were faster and more accurate in their responses. Moreover, analysis of brain scans showed that these benefits were associated with increased activity in certain parts of the brain.

“These results indicate that playing video games potentially improves the sub-processes of sensation, perception, and action comparison to improve decision-making skills,” the authors wrote in a statement.

The study also showed that there was no difference between speed and accuracy of response – players were better in both characteristics.

“These findings begin to shed light on how video gaming alters the brain to improve task performance and its possible consequences for increasing task-specific activity,” the authors said.

The results suggest that video games can be an ally for learning and can be used as training for perceptual decision making—the stage in which information is processed to make a choice.

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