(Post by nerdbastards contributor Nick Bungay- Twitter @NickBungay)
They said no good would come from playing games all day. Thanks to research from scientists from the University of Rochester (true blue nerds), playing fast-paced video games improves a player’s ability to make decisions 25 percent faster than normal. We’ve already know that playing video games makes us better, this just proves it!
A new study proved that not only do video games sharpen reflexes and motor skills, has a lasting effect on our cognitive (thought) abilities as well. Daphne Bavelier, Alexandre Pouget, and C. Shawn Green have authored a study that video games could one day be used as training to increase reaction time in a variety of real-world exercises. When will we see people trained to drive by Gran Turismo?
No how they come up with the results for their studies? Well, first they needed a couple dozen 18 to 25-year old that weren’t gamers, must have been tough. Once this near impossible task was done the group was split into 2 smaller groups. The first group played 50, non-consecutive hours of fast-paced games like Call of Duty and Unreal Tournament. The second groups also played 50, non-consecutive hours but with strategy games like The Sims.
After both groups had broken their gaming cherries the participants were asked to complete a number of tasked the reseachers had set up. The subjects were required to look at a screen and determining the direction a group of dots was travelling. The fast-paced gamers answered their questions 35 percent faster then the strategy gamers, while getting just as many answers correct.
“It’s not the case that the action game players are trigger-happy and less accurate: They are just as accurate and also faster,” Bavelier said. “Action game players make more correct decisions per unit time. If you are a surgeon or you are in the middle of a battlefield, that can make all the difference.”
Does this mean if I wanna become a doctor one day I should play as many fast-paced games for as long as I can? Not really. The action games just make it easier and quicker for you to make a decision.
“Decisions are never black and white,” (Bavelier) said. “The brain is always computing probabilities. As you drive, for instance, you may see a movement on your right, estimate whether you are on a collision course, and based on that probability make a binary decision: brake or don’t brake.”
While it may be that joining a game filled with shouting monkies is going to be a waste of 10 minutes it’s a learning experience. When they call your mother a whore before you can get a shot off, it’s not because they cheated. It’s because they made the decision to shoot and insult your mother 25 percent faster a strategy player. Suck on that Starcraft.