There’s been an ongoing debate since the dawn of gaming as to whether or not playing video games really helps contribute to one’s mental abilities. Well, based on some new research, it looks like playing video games contributes a whole lot, just as we’ve been saying for years.
The news comes out of the University of Rochester, which conducted a series of test on a few dozen 18 to 25-year olds who didn’t normally play video games. Those who took part in the experiment were split into two groups, with one group tasked with playing Unreal Tournament and Call of Duty 2 for 50 hours, and the other group tasked with playing The Sims 2 for 50 hours. Players were then required to make decisions based on time-sensitive tasked designed by the researchers.
The end result showed that those who played the action titles were up to 25% faster at developing a correct answer compared to those who played the much slower, Sims 2. Daphne Bavelier, of the University of Rochester, stated the following:
It’s not the case that the action game players are trigger-happy and less accurate: They are just as accurate and also faster, 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.
Decisions are never black and white, 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.
The process, probabilistic inference, relies more heavily on making the right choice based on probability, as opposed to making smaller calculations in one’s head that may lead to a correct choice. This is definitely awesome news and only adds to the argument that gaming helps to stimulate the mind.