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Saturday, October 3, 2015

What types of video games improve brain function?


From "brain games" designed to enhance mental fitness, to games used to improve real-world problems, to games created purely to entertain, today's video games can have a variety of potential impacts on the brain.
A new article in Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences argues that it is the specific content, dynamics, and mechanics of individual games that determine their effects on the brain and that action video games might have particularly positive benefits.

Analyzing science on the cognitive effects of video games researchers wrote that action video games- games that feature quickly moving targets that come in and out of view, include large amounts of clutter, and that require the user to make rapid, accurate decisions - have particularly positive cognitive impacts, even when compared to "brain games," which are created specifically to improve cognitive function.
"Action video games have been linked to improving attention skills, brain processing, and cognitive functions including low-level vision through high-level cognitive abilities. Many other types of games do not produce an equivalent impact on perception and cognition," the researchers commented. "Brain games typically embody few of the qualities of the commercial video games linked with cognitive improvement."
Researchers noted that while action games in particular have not been linked to problems with sustaining attention, research has shown that total amount of video game play predicts poorer attention in the classroom.
Furthermore, video games are known to impact not only cognitive function, but many other aspects of behavior - including social functions - and this impact can be either positive or negative depending on the content of the games.