The millions of people who play video games will be happy to learn that, despite past research that showed it was bad for you, a new study now says it’s actually good for your brain. It’s an interesting study, but regardless, the elimination of video games would do wonders for our health instead of turning our society into a bunch of mindless vidiots who “don’t have time for exercise.”
But first, the research. A study from the University of Rochester now suggests that gaming actually improves creativity, decision-making and perception. It seems that people who play action-based video and computer games made decisions 25% faster than others without sacrificing accuracy because while playing video games, users are forced to make choices and act on them up to six times a second, which is four times more than most people.
In addition, researchers found that game players can pay attention to more than six things at once without getting confused, compared with four things that a “normal” person can handle.
Studies also found that women–who make up 42% of game players–were better able to mentally manipulate 3D objects. Perhaps with things like tools, gadgets and the ever-confusing remote control–a skill that men are generally better at, researchers say.
However, don’t be fooled by this and convince yourself that spending hours in front of a video game is actually good for you. Past research still looms large, and it has shown that gaming can negatively impact your brain too. Emotional control is affected, and those who play to extremes are often prone to be overweight, introverted and depressed.
Nevertheless, researchers say today’s average gamer is 34 years old and often plays these games up to 18 hours a week. That’s roughly one whole day of someone’s waking hours. OK, maybe saying they should be “banned” is too strong, but our society would be better off without video games. We need to balance the time spent here with, say, exercise–something 80% of our society doesn’t do enough of.
Just looking at the 11 million registered users of “World of Warcraft” alone, these gamers have spent roughly 50 billion hours playing this game since it was launched eight years ago. That’s as much time, analysts say, as humanity spent evolving as a species–approximately 5.9 million years.
That’s just sad. Think of the good these people could have done for their health alone–and for others–if those hours were dedicated to exercise, being outdoors and connecting with nature. Well, at least now we know what they are doing when they “don’t have time for exercise”.