The effects of playing video games on the brain has been debated for over 30 years. That’s because gaming is probably one of the best ways to engage teenagers, however many people still consider it a misuse of time. So can video games really make you smarter?

Scientists have summarized and collected information on how video games can change our brain, both in negative and positive ways. Research now proves that video games can be put to therapeutic and educational uses. They can also be used to improve vision, reaction times, hand-eye coordination, and problem solving, to name a few.1

A study done by scientists showed the effects of playing Super Mario 64 for 30 minutes a day for a two-month period. The results were surprising, as the participants had an improvement in their brains associated with memory, planning, and fine motor skills. Other studies done by scientists have shown improvement in eyesight. It also improved seeing differences in contrast, a skill people start losing as they age. Playing video games can also improve the rate at which the brain receives both visual and auditory stimulations. People who play video games can process these stimulations faster than people who don’t play. These stimulations ensure that the brain is continuously working.2

Another important skill gamers learn is goal setting. To achieve goals, you need to plan, and if that plan doesn’t work, you try another. In this way, playing video games indirectly teaches a person to have plans and backup plans to achieve whatever goals one may have. Playing games also provides people with a social network, as there is a multiplayer setting in which you can play with other players. They can be strangers from other countries or friends from the neighborhood. It also improves teamwork, and this can be applied in the real world.3

Does this suggest that you should play video games for a long period of time? No! Playing for a long period of time can have some negative effects on the brain. Physical health can be seriously impacted, as gamers become lazy and tend not to go outside.

So, does playing video games really make you smarter, or does it make you more violent and lazy? Based on research, video games are more beneficial than they are detrimental to the minds of users. They can assist the player to prepare for certain real-life situations and improve physical traits. So go and play video games (in moderation) because you are learning a lot more than you think!

 

 

Citations

  1. Griffiths, M. (2011). Playing video games is good for your brain – here’s how. [online] The Conversation. Available at: https://theconversation.com/playing-video-games-is-good-for-your-brain-heres-how-34034
  2. Video games can change your brain: Studies investigating how playing video games can affect the brain have shown that they can cause changes in many brain regions. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/06/170622103824.htm
  3. Eugenio, S. (2017). Public Access – 8 Cognitive Benefits of Playing Video Games for Kids. Retrieved from https://www.engadget.com/2017/02/09/8-cognitive-benefits-of-playing-video-games-for-kids/