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Video gamers are better decision makers

July 28, 2022 – Playing action video games appears to improve brain activity and decision-making.

In a study that combined brain imaging with decision-making – tasking, college students who played video games frequently did them faster and more accurately than their peers who rarely played video games decision.

“The vast majority of our young people play video games for more than 3 hours a week, but the beneficial effects on decision-making and the brain are unclear,” chief executive of Georgia State University’s Neuroscience Institute Researcher Dr Mukesh Dhamala told a news conference.

Dhamala and GSU co-investigator Timothy Jordan, Ph.D., said the new study begins to shed light on how video games alter the brain to improve task performance.

Researchers recruited 47 college students: 28 reported playing action video games at least 5 hours per week for the past 2 years, 19 non-gamers averaged weekly educational hours less than 1 hour.

During brain imaging, they were given a computerized decision-making task. They were asked to press either a right- or left-hand button to indicate the direction the point was moving, or to refuse to press either button if there was no movement.

Video gamers react faster than non-gamers ,more acurrate. Gamers also had stronger activity in certain parts of the brain.

“This hasn’t been shown before,” Damara and Jordan said.

Previous brain imaging studies have shown that video games may have benefits for attention, visual perception, and memory, but lack clear behavior-brain relationships and effects on decision-making processes.

Jordan wasn’t surprised by the study’s results.

When he was a child, he had poor vision in one eye. As part of a study when he was about 5 years old, he covered his good eyes and played video games to enhance the vision of the weak.

Jordan credits video game training for helping build his brain’s strong ability to process what he sees, allowing him to eventually play lacrosse and paintball.

SUNY at Syracuse Dr Stephen Faran of Northern Medical University was also not surprised by the findings.

“Playing video games can change the brain and improve some cognitive skills,” he said
, after seeing the result.

It’s important to note, he said, that there are no well-designed clinical trials showing that these changes in the brain can improve real-world skills , such as school performance.

It’s unclear how long a person has to train with video games to acquire new decision-making skills.

“Like everything else, it has to be done in moderation. Playing too much can sometimes lead to addiction, like anything that affects our brains, especially the developing brains of young adults ,” Damara and Jordan said.



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