Everything from depression and violence to antisocial behavior, obesity and poor sleep habits is attributed to video games. However, when you read one of the actual publications about the effects of playing video games, most of these claims are false. A long-term study from the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, published in Scientific Reports, found that there is a beneficial causal effect of video games on cognition. American children, boys and girls, ages 9 to 10 who spent above-average time playing video games, increased their intelligence scores by 2.5 IQ points above average after two years.
In addition, a neuroscience study suggests that expert players of action real-time strategy games like League of Legends are improving in the allocation of brain resources between visual stimuli competing for attention. The study shows that these actors have faster information processing, allocate more cognitive power to individual visual stimuli, and allocate limited resources to successive stimuli that are more effective over time. In addition, the effect appears to have a long-term effect on the brain, and the study author concludes that these games can be a powerful tool for cognitive training.
Other forms of screen time such as watching videos or social videos have no positive or negative effect on a child’s intelligence. The most recent issue of the American Journal of Play features an article by researchers Adam Eichenbaum, Daphne Bavelier and C. Shawn Green that summarizes recent research that finds evidence of lasting positive effects of video games on basic mental processes, such as perception, attention, memory, and decision-making. Most research covers the effects of action video games, that is, games that force players to move quickly, follow many elements at once, contain a lot of information in their heads at once, and make split-second decisions.
There are even studies with adults that show that experience with video games is linked to better surgical skills. One of the reasons given by experts to explain why today’s fighter pilots are more qualified is that pilots of this generation are weaned from video games. Instead of seeing stories about the Gaming Reviews, if you spend time watching the news or researching online the effects of video games on children, you will undoubtedly find terrifying claims.
Working towards a goal and synchronizing a team despite the disagreements that arise are leadership skills that can be learned by playing video games. Learning to use these skills is a good habit for children to become effective leaders as they grow. When they’re not playing video games with friends, kids who play video games often talk about it.
It may seem surprising that one of the benefits of playing video games is that children grow up to be more charitable and politically engaged. However, it is clear that the argument that video games make children less involved in the world is not the case. This motivation, according to the researchers, is transferred from video games to real life. Many people who play video games also have the motivation to excel in their careers. In previous articles, we didn’t talk about the positive benefits of playing video games, but rather the reasons why you should stop playing them. Cognitive flexibility, attention, working memory, and abstract reasoning all tend to decrease with age.