Game Changer

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Game Changer

Do video games cause violent or anti-social behavior? Or, do they contribute to childhood obesity? These are some of the irrational questions that a lot of people accusingly ask about various video game systems and their loyal players. People have felt this way since video games first came out and many of them haven’t swayed in their opinion at all. However, people are asking the wrong questions. What about asking, “Are there any benefits to playing video games that we should know about? Contrary to these and other objections, new research shows that today’s video games offer many great cognitive, social, and physical benefits. There are lots of recent studies and research findings that show video games build many specific cognitive skills in people ranging from small children to adults in their sixties and seventies. A study, headed by researcher Cheryl K. Olsen, reported that cognitive video game benefits in children can include, providing an outlet for creativity, providing practice in planning and recognizing consequences, improving visual/spatial skills, can teach important math or history (in certain games) and lead to an above average reading level (certain games sneak a fair amount of reading in). Another study was done on undergraduates, where they found that the regular gamers in this group did a lot better than non-gamers on tests of visual attention, spatial ability, and visual short-term memory skills. Similarly, when one-hundred fifty seniors, ages sixty to seventy were tested, researchers found that the seniors who regularly played video games did much better than non-gamers when it came to cognitive abilities including memory, reaction time, spatial ability, and even on their real world memory ability. Other studies have shown that gamers have better abilities to focus, prioritize scarce resources, problem solve, and recognize patterns. They are also more creative, have increased perceptual abilities, improved reaction...
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