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    Playing Video Games Can Boost Cognition And Reaction Time
    By News Staff | September 3rd 2013 09:12 PM | 5 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments

    Video games have beem widely available to the home market for 40 years, which means there have been 40 years of concern about what impact, negative or positive, they may have.

    Soon after the first video games such as Pong and Space Invaders hit the market in the 1970s, psychologists and neuroscientists began to investigate whether playing video games might be beneficial to the brain.  Proponents speak of the neuroscience benefit of time-pressured deployment, flexible allocation, of attention as well as precise bi-manual movements while detractors worry about the time spent away from doing other things and that video games may inspire violent behavior. 

    But like most aspects of behavior, video-game research is beset by a number of methodological issues that require addressing. Andrew Latham and colleagues review the literature on this thorny topic, encompassing almost 50 studies published over 28 years. They find in their review of the literature that video games can boost a surprisingly wide array of cognitive functions, for example hand-eye coordination, spatial visualization, visual anticipation, reaction time, and task switching. 

    These benefits are more pronounced for modern games, which are more complex than games from the 1980s and 1990s. Latham et al. also discuss the neural mechanisms that could underlie these benefits of game playing.

    They conclude that video-game play could be profitably used in education and clinical settings to improve cognitive functions.

    Article: The virtual brain: 30 years of video-game play and cognitive abilities, Journal: Frontiers in Psychology 2013 DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00629

    Comments

    Hank
    I raised my cognition playing Splinter Cell Blacklist last night - and my blood pressure.
    Funny, how when such a crap study gets published suddenly there's no mention of placebo effect.

    http://www.science20.com/news_articles/brain_training_products_work_just_placebos-115945

    Hank
    Sure there is, you just did.  "But like most aspects of behavior, video-game research is beset by a number of methodological issues that require addressing."

    Unless it has the name of one of us on it, it is informative, not contextual.  You read the paper and noted the concerns, there is no reason to think 2,000 others didn't do the same thing. No one smart enough to find this site doesn't realize a paper like that has flaws - especially when it is just a review. And in psychology.
    To be fair, I went and checked out the actual paper. Despite not mentioned in this post, a whole section in the review is dedicated to methodological flaws and general concerns with the video-game literature.

    Hank
    Right, press releases about papers rarely highlight the methodological weaknesses of the papers - science readers are informed by these things, not educated. And you rightly showed that to be true.