Myth buster: Games do make you Smarter and Healthier

A report released by Foundry10, an education-focused research firm that studies gamers', busted popular myth of gamers having adverse effect of countless hours of gaming.

In a report released by Foundry10 (http://esportsobserver.com/new-studies-foundry10-suggest-cognitive-benefits-playing-esports/), an education-focused research firm that studies gamers busted popular myth of gamers having adverse effect of countless hours of gaming. But can it really be true, can games actually make you faster, healthier, and stronger? Let’s find out.

Since the start of the millennia, gaming in general has been evolving with more and more individuals getting involved with the creative virtual world set by game designers. However gaming is not restricted to the peripheries of entertainment industry as gamers have increasingly involved in competitive environment in various game titles to prove themselves the best out of all. As a result many of them indulge in sessions comprising numerous hours.

There has been uncounted debates in the media about the side effects of exposing young brains to virtual worlds, and most of these debates ended with an inclination to the notion of extensive gaming having adverse effect on young individuals’ psychologically while also encouraging obesity.

However none of these debates had any impact in the continuous evolution of competitive gaming, better known as Esports. Not only has the demography expanded massively, people in general have also started taking interest in the field while encouraging their children to engage in gaming activities. As a result various research farms have now come forward to conduct extensive studies and most of them reveal shocking results.

Contrary to their reputation, many games in fact have educational, physical and psychological benefits for the players. Games which have repetitive actions such as swinging a melee weapon or targeting a moving object, train the brain and muscles to perform better in real-life activities.

Accuracy in Decision Making

According to the scientists from the University of Rochester, a fast paced game requires quick thinking and fast decision making which results in better response time for active gamers. The study was conducted on two groups of University attendees. One of the groups was tasked to play Call of Duty 2 for 50 hours and the other to play the simulated game “The Sim 2”. Daphne Bavelier, one of the researchers at the university stated that,“ Action game players make more correct decision per unit time.” He also mentioned that video games improves vision by making players more sensitive to slight difference in share of color, known as contrast sensitivity.

Multitasking Video Game Makes Old Brains Act Younger

In an another survey conducted by The New York Times, a group of old people aged between 60 to 85 showed better multitasking, improved short-term memory and better focusing capability after playing a racing game named “NeuroRacer”.

Similar results were found during a researchers at the University of Lowa conducted on 681 healthy individuals, aged 50 and older. The individuals were separated into multiple groups. The task of one of the group was to play a game named “Road Tour”. The game requires players to identify and match a picture of a vehicle at the center of the screen with a series of road signs that are displayed in surrounding circles, one of which is a Route 66 road sign. The goal is to correctly identify the car type while also remembering the position of the Route 66 sign. After a duration of 6-8 weeks the individuals showed improvement in neurological activities.

Jason Allaire, an associate professor in the department of psychology at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, while reacting to these reports said that, “Whether it’s a specially manufactured game or something like “World of Warcraft,” games are cognitively complex and require mental energy and abilities to play them. Whenever you do anything that requires mental energy, you’re exercising your abilities — it’s just like if you exercise your muscles, you get stronger.”

A fun way of doing work out

Not only these, the games involving dancing and moving around, like the popular rhythm game series Just Dance, has an equivalent effect compared to a moderate exercise session which makes it a fun way of doing a work out.

Better hand-eye coordination

Additionally gamers playing games like Tennis or Table Tennis on gaming devices like the Nintando Wii or even smart phones exhibit better eye hand coordination.

Improves reading speed of children with Dyslexia

It is also found that a gaming session of only 12 hours improves the reading speed of children with dyslexia, more than the result of a yearlong reading development curriculum.

Gamers produce better Surgeons

An experiment conducted at The University of Texas Medical Branch involved high school and college gamers and medical residents who competed in performing better virtual surgery. The participants had to complete a series of tasks on devices that replicates real surgeries and measured skills in 32 different categories. Surprisingly, the high school kids outperformed the medical residents.

Can be used to relieve pain

In 2010, researchers presented evidence at the American Pain Society’s annual scientific meeting that video games, specifically the once that involve Virtual Reality, have proven effective in reducing anxiety or pain caused by medical procedures or chronic illness. The study found that when people undergoing chemotherapy or other serious treatments were immersed in a virtual gaming world, they reported significantly less stress and fear. In addition, those being treated for burn wounds found a decline in their pain ratings by rates of 30 to 50 percent.

Stroke Victims have better recovery

Recovery for stroke victims can be a long or even impossible process and sometimes the procedures are quite expensive. Debbie Rand of Tel Aviv University conducted an experiment on individual who have suffered stroke within 1 to 7 years. The victims were teamed up in two groups. While one of them were put under conventional therapy, the other group was tasked to play games on different platforms. While both groups showed improvement in things like grip, only the video game group continued to show improvement in hand strength after the treatment. The video gamers not only performed double the number of arm movements during each session, their movements were goal-directed and not merely repetitive exercises.

Similarly, if you browse the internet you will find countless journals suggesting to the fact that Video games do have a lot of positive impact on a person. Now it is all up to you that the next time you find a kid playing games, would you want to scold him to get back to his homework or encourage his passion for games.

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