Video Games Are Good for You

Monday, March 12th, 2012

Video games are good for you:

A growing body of university research suggests that gaming improves creativity, decision-making and perception. The specific benefits are wide ranging, from improved hand-eye coordination in surgeons to vision changes that boost night driving ability.

People who played action-based video and computer games made decisions 25% faster than others without sacrificing accuracy, according to a study. Indeed, the most adept gamers can make choices and act on them up to six times a second—four times faster than most people, other researchers found. Moreover, practiced game players can pay attention to more than six things at once without getting confused, compared with the four that someone can normally keep in mind, said University of Rochester researchers. The studies were conducted independently of the companies that sell video and computer games.

Scientists also found that women—who make up about 42% of computer and videogame players—were better able to mentally manipulate 3D objects, a skill at which men are generally more adept.


A three-year study of 491 middle school students found that the more children played computer games the higher their scores on a standardized test of creativity—regardless of race, gender, or the kind of game played. The researchers ranked students on a widely used measure called the Torrance Test of Creativity, which involves such tasks as drawing an “interesting and exciting” picture from a curved shape on a sheet of paper, giving the picture a title, and then writing a story about it. The results were ranked by seven researchers for originality, length, and complexity on a standardized three-point scale for each factor, along with detailed questionnaires.

In contrast, using cellphones, the Internet, or computers for other purposes had no effect on creativity, they said.


  1. Wobbly says:

    Video games train your brain to do well in video games, which need the skills listed above. Any idea how much of this is transferable to the, uh, real world? Maybe if you’re a Marine.

    On the other hand, I used to work with an ex-Force Recon guy who just kicked everybody’s arse at Quake. He went by the name of Mother. Perhaps some of that Marine training is transferable to video games?

  2. Buckethead says:

    Don’t show this to my 8-year-old son.

  3. Isegoria says:

    I definitely have questions about the transfer of learning, Wobbly, but I will note that Marines and commodity traders seem to share many traits.

  4. Buckethead says:

    I’ve noticed that Marines and IT types have a lot of similarities, too. Similar senses of humor, similar approaches to training and exchange of knowledge.

  5. Alrenous says:

    In the admittedly flawed testing arena of Laser Quest, first-person shooter skills and strategies definitely translate into the real world.

    Marines and IT types both have a totally non-negotiable need to take the world as it is. You can’t argue either bullets or code into anything other than exactly what they are. I wonder if this is relevant.

    For example, I wonder if the fact scientists can argue grant officers into something different is enough to screw the dynamic up.

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