There is the perception that only young people play video games and that video games negatively affect the player’s abilities. Is that true? Well, first of all, the average age of a gamer is 33 years old! Therefore, video games are not only played by young people but it seems like they are also here to stay.
Society has at least in part expressed the belief that puzzles, games like Sudoku or even reading Shakespeare will improve your intellectual ability! However, this is not always the case as a study by Greneck showed that cognitive ability is enhanced from shooter video games and not, as one would expect, from solving a puzzle! Statistics show that playing video games is better in order to improve the visual skills of the individual. This article will talk about the various benefits of video games.
Skills that are improved from playing video games
· Social skills: Studies show that children that play video games tend to be more sociable and cooperative. This is because players can play side by side and/or online to accomplish a goal, allowing the formation of meaningful relationships.
· Mental flexibility: A DUEEK study shows that if you were praised for the efforts you undertook to accomplish a task, over praise for its successful accomplishment, it is more likely you will believe that intelligence is not a fixed attribute, a belief which has been shown to facilitate the ability of individuals to learn. As a result of the immediate feedback you get with video games, players are kept gaming and it is reinforced that they ought to never give up. Moreover, video games have different levels which in turn make gamers craftier as they need to navigate the successive difficulty better. This incremental theory of intelligence suggests that failure will motivate you because by seeking out goals with clear, achievable rewards, video games incentivise you to be more motivated and resilient.
· Reaction time: In an article about the impact of video games on cognition in 2015 in the Policy Insights from the Behavioural and Brain Sciences Journal it was shown that action games do way more to improve brain as they help decision making and also the quick acknowledgement and implementation of high volumes of information. Video games are found to be better than any other brain game as they are active which makes the player think, quickly decide and take action accordingly.
· Attentional capacity: In an experiment in Toronto, they tried to test mental rotation. Mental rotation is the ability to rotate mental representations of two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects as it is related to the visual representation of such rotation within the human mind. In that experiment people who were not gamers participated, then completed 10 hours of video gaming and a few days later they took the experiment again. The final result was that they scored better marks which showed that video games helped attention capacity as a consequence of video games helping with mental rotation. Another research showed that those people who play video games could more efficiently distinguish between different shades of grey. This can be helpful in highways when the weather is not the ideal as it assists to avoid accidents.
Social and emotional areas that reduce stress levels and increase the self-esteem
· Reduce stress: Playing a casual video game even briefly can restore individuals’ affective abilities, making it a suitable activity to restore mood in response to stress. However, future research is needed to find activities capable of cognitive restoration. Video games help de-stress when life activities require you have to focus.
· Positive influence Iowa State University showed that video games tend to have a positive influence on your behaviour. Moreover, a study in the BMJ Journal shows that there are certain games that can even help people with depression. For example, the video game “SPARK” was designed for this purpose and it allowed users to pursue a more self-directed program. Kids were found to be more willing to open up and as a result, a decrease in the level of their depression was identified.
· Tackle diseases: It is worth noting that a study has shown that video games helped people with schizophrenia. Before the experiment, the 12 patients had nasty and threatening hallucinations every day but by using their own mental strategies derived from the video games they were instructed to play, they were able to turn down the volume of the voices they heard. This is an excellent example of the cognitive benefits of video games as it helped this group of people suffer less and remain calm for a longer period of time.
There are many cognitive benefits of playing video games and as cognitive functioning is improved it creates special skills for students; like visually manipulation skills which enable them to perform better in STEM areas (Science–Technology–Engineering-Maths). Playing video games also improve creativity and problem-solving skills which are vital for someone to succeed in today’s world as most CEO’s like Elon Musk (founder of Tesla) and Jack Ma (founder of Ali Baba) are said to value creativity over any other skill.