Video games have long been seen as the culprit behind poor, lackadaisical performances in school. As such, many parents have forced their children to part ways with their video games, grounding them if they decide to do otherwise. Latest research, however, shows that parents should be thankful that their children are addicted with video games. Why, you ask? Several studies point that video games can actually make a person brainier. So before you ground your game-addicted child, make sure to read (and digest if you can) these seemingly-unbelievable brain boosting benefits of video games.
Video Games Improve Spatial Intelligence
The ability to think in three dimensions– not because the game is three-dimensional itself – is one of the many mental faculties developed in a moderate video gamer. This type of intelligence, acc0rding to Harvard neuroscientist Howard Gardner, is referred to as spatial Intelligence. Simply put, gamers are picture-smart, which means they exceed in spatial reasoning, mental imagery, and image manipulation. They also are said to possess active imaginations as well. Backing up this claim is Dr. Daphne Bavelier, a cognitive neuroscientist based in Geneva, Switzerland. Her studies have showed that video gamers can easily tread through small details, such as a misspelled word in a newspaper article. They are also better when it comes to discerning differences between colors (especially gray,) which is particularly important in driving around fog.
An improved sense of direction, another aspect of spatial intelligence, is also enhanced in video gamers. The games they usually play require them to navigate smartly into unknown pseudo-worlds, lest they want to play victim to a trap or be captured by the enemy.
Video Gamers Are Seen to Have Improved Logical Intelligence
In the same study, Bavelier tested video game players to determine their ability to resolve conflict. She showed a chart to her study participants, with color words incorrectly shaded with their corresponding hues. For example, her chart shows the word green written in color blue. The results of the experiment are staggering. While most would think that video gamers have a slower response time, they are actually faster in resolving such conflicts. In fact, multiple brain scans show that games affect three parts of the brain, namely the parietal lobe, which orients attention; the frontal lobe, which maintains attention; and the anterior cingulate, which regulates and controls attention.
With the results of the study, and the brain changes seen in gamers, Bavalier concludes that video games are instrumental in the improvement of a person’s logical intelligence. In other words, video gamers are ‘reasoning smart,’ meaning they demonstrate exemplary skills in deductive/inductive thinking, sequential reasoning, abstract thinking and symbolic thinking.
Video Gamers Are Seen to Have Improved Interpersonal Intelligence
While most gamers are unjustly qualified as loners, their games actually help in the improvement of interpersonal intelligence. Defined as the ability to understand oneself, as well as the feelings and emotions of people around him, self-smartness is often seen in actors and teachers. Apparently, this trait can also be seen in gamers, especially in individuals who prefer playing massively multiplayer online role playing games, such as the likes of City of Heroes and World of Warcraft. According to Ian Bogost, a Georgia Tech professor, gamers become people smart individuals because the games they play require them to team up with other players, in order to meet a certain goal. In the process of gaming, improvement in communication skills is noted, as well as better understanding of a person’s feelings and thoughts.
Video Games Promote Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence
While video games are utilized for recreational purposes, they are now being used by medical schools and military academies for the development of their personnel’s dexterity and physical abilities. Yes, the adage “practice makes perfect” holds true, but doctors practicing on patients, and soldiers practicing on real-life enemies can spell doom for the involved parties. So before hospitals and commanders send out their physicians and troops to the real world, they make use of simulation video games that can help hone their personnel’s skills sans the fatalities.
The benefits of these video games are nothing short of outstanding. With repeated exposure to simulated settings, the gamers get to improve their skills in object manipulation. With a better mind and body union, new doctors and soldiers can serve their purposes well even if it is their first time in the actual field.
Video Games Improve Intrapersonal Intelligence[wp_ad_camp_3] Video games, no matter how violent they might be, can actually improve your interpersonal intelligence. Defined as the power to understand your thoughts and feelings, self-smartness enables you to think deeper: should you do it? Or should you not? Case in point: the new Tomb Raider Game. In this saga, Lara Croft is faced with a hard decision: to kill the man who has tried to harm her, or to let him go and continue on with her journey. Games like this make a person introspective. With video games, a player can become aware of his feelings and motivations.
The Bottom Line
While video games have been proven effective in boosting a person’s intelligence, the key is to play these games in moderation! If not, you might end up cranky and forgetful – just some of the consequences of a video game addiction.
Games To Try
Develop your multiple intelligences by playing these enhancing games:
With researchers and studies that showcase the brain-boosting benefits of video games, gamers can finally redeem themselves from the judgment of other people. So if you want to improve your spatial, logical, bodily, and interpersonal intelligence, what you need to do is whip out your game console and happily play with it.
Taking out terrorists or shooting up zombies in video games could be more than just an adrenaline rush. It may actually make you smarter.
A new study out this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences demonstrates for the first time that people who played action games like "Call of Duty" and "Unreal Tournament 2004" showed greater capacity to learn than those who played non-action games. Those improvements on a range of tasks were still with them when they were tested again a year later.
"Prior research by our group and others has shown that action gamers excel at many tasks. In this new study, we show they excel because they are better learners," said Daphne Bavelier, a research professor in brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester. "And they become better learners by playing the fast-paced action games."
Bavelier said our brains keep predicting what will come next - whether when listening to a conversation, driving, or even preforming surgery. "In order to sharpen its prediction skills, our brains constantly build models, or 'templates,' of the world," she said. "The better the template, the better the performance. And now we know playing action video game actually fosters better templates."
Ohio State professor Brad J. Bushman, who has done extensive research into the effects of violent video games on players, called it a "cool paper" but questioned whether the violence was necessary to produce learning.
"I believe the findings. What I fear, however, is that people will use such findings to justify playing violent action games," Bushman said. "I would love to see studies test three types of video games: (1) violent action, (2) nonviolent action, and (3) non-action. Action and violence are confounded in many video games. My hypothesis is that it is the action that produces the learning rather than the violence. The key is to develop exciting, action-packed nonviolent games."
In their study, Bavelier and her team of researchers first compared the visual performance of 10 gamers who played titles like "Call of Duty" with that of 10 individuals who played non-action games like "Restaurant Empire" and "The Sims 2," a life simulation video game. The researchers gauged this by measuring the players' ability distinguish one set of black and white lines from another that were presented in rapid fashion.
After playing the games for 50 hours over nine weeks, researchers found that the action gamers outperformed the non-action gamers.
Then, researchers turned to neural modeling to understand why the action gamers performed so much better. The key to the action gamers' success, the researchers found, was that their brains were better able estimate what various pattern of lines would look like before they appeared and then match to those expectations to what they saw. And they did so on the fly as they engaged in the task.
"When they began the perceptual learning task, action video gamers were indistinguishable from non-action gamers; they didn't come to the task with a better template," Bavelier said. "Instead, they developed better templates for the task, much, much faster showing an accelerated learning curve."
Bavelier's team is now investigating which characteristics in action video games are key to boosting players' learning. They acknowledged, as Bushman pointed out that, "games other than action video games may be able to have the same effect."