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Playing Action Video Games Can Boost Learning

Playing Action Video Games Can Boost LearningPlaying Action Video Games Can Boost Learning

A new study shows for the first time that playing action video games improves not just the skills taught in the game, but learning capabilities more generally.

“Prior research by our group and others has shown that action gamers excel at many tasks. In this new study, we show they excel because they are better learners,” explained Daphne Bavelier, a research professor in brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester. “And they become better learners,” she said, “by playing the fast-paced action games.”

According to Bavelier, who also holds a joint appointment at the University of Geneva, our brains keep predicting what will come next—whether when listening to a conversation, driving, or even performing surgery. “In order to sharpen its prediction skills, our brains constantly build models, or ‘templates,’ of the world,” she explained. “The better the template, the better the performance. And now we know playing action video game actually fosters better templates.”

In the current study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Bavelier and her team first used a pattern discrimination task to compare action video game players’ visual performance with that of individuals who do not play action video games.

The action-gamers outperformed the non-action gamers. The key to the action-gamers success, the researchers found, was that their brains used a better template for the task at hand.

 Measuring Learning

Being a better learner means developing the right templates faster and thus better performance. And playing action video games, the research team found boosts that process.

The researchers also found that the action gamers’ improved performance is a lasting effect. When tested several months to a year later, the action-trained participants still outperformed the other participants, suggesting that they retained their ability to build better templates.

 

Financialtribune.com