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FSU Study Debunks Claims That Video Games Strengthen Cognition

September 21, 2011 by  

FSU Study Debunks Claims That Video Games Strengthen CognitionFrequent video game players, or “gamers,” may have been satisfied to hear about past studies which suggested that regularly sitting down to engage in marathon sessions in front of an Xbox or Playstation can enhance an individual’s mental capacity.

However, these people may have reached for the controller too quickly, as further research conducted at Florida State University reveals that the link between regular gaming and superior brain function may be correlation and not causation.

“Despite the hype, in reality, there is little solid evidence that games enhance cognition at all,” said lead researcher Daniel Blakely.

The investigator and his team reviewed previous studies claiming that gamers have better perceptive and cognitive abilities, and found that scientists in these trials often compared “expert” players to ordinary users. This may have skewed any results, since it may simply be that people who are good at video games have better brain function to begin with, regardless of their experience with virtual reality.

Additionally, in their own study, the researchers found no changes in cognitive ability in people who regularly played video games over a trial period.

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  • Mushin

    And this is surprising in what way?!

  • eddie47d

    There probably is an increase in hand eye coordination and maybe the ability to focus. It also slightly increases technical ability.Beyond that it increases obsessive-compulsive behavior and encourages erratic behavior. The greatest harm is the lack of dealing with other humans and the isolation of not getting out. I have seen that and this is strictly what I have observed.

  • Dave

    DANIEL BLAKELY & FSU may have to “EAT CROW” . . .

    Check out this link : http://games.yahoo.com/blogs/plugged-in/online-gamers-crack-aids-enzyme-puzzle-161920724.html

    “Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle”

    Online gamers have achieved a feat beyond the realm of Second Life or Dungeons and Dragons: they have deciphered the structure of an enzyme of an AIDS-like virus that had thwarted scientists for a decade.

    Photo by AFP
    The exploit is published on Sunday in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, where — exceptionally in scientific publishing — both gamers and researchers are honoured as co-authors.

    Their target was a monomeric protease enzyme, a cutting agent in the complex molecular tailoring of retroviruses, a family that includes HIV.

    Figuring out the structure of proteins is vital for understanding the causes of many diseases and developing drugs to block them.

    But a microscope gives only a flat image of what to the outsider looks like a plate of one-dimensional scrunched-up spaghetti. Pharmacologists, though, need a 3-D picture that “unfolds” the molecule and rotates it in order to reveal potential targets for drugs.

    This is where Foldit comes in.

    Developed in 2008 by the University of Washington, it is a fun-for-purpose video game in which gamers, divided into competing groups, compete to unfold chains of amino acids — the building blocks of proteins — using a set of online tools.

    To the astonishment of the scientists, the gamers produced an accurate model of the enzyme in just three weeks.

    Cracking the enzyme “provides new insights for the design of antiretroviral drugs,” says the study, referring to the lifeline medication against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

    It is believed to be the first time that gamers have resolved a long-standing scientific problem.

    “We wanted to see if human intuition could succeed where automated methods had failed,” Firas Khatib of the university’s biochemistry lab said in a press release. “The ingenuity of game players is a formidable force that, if properly directed, can be used to solve a wide range of scientific problems.”

    One of Foldit’s creators, Seth Cooper, explained why gamers had succeeded where computers had failed.

    “People have spatial reasoning skills, something computers are not yet good at,” he said.

    “Games provide a framework for bringing together the strengths of computers and humans. The results in this week’s paper show that gaming, science and computation can be combined to make advances that were not possible before.”

    • http://ahalbert@smart-technology.net Allan

      I’ve seen this myself. I have two sons who played lots of games in various forms. I was skeptical, but both became excellent researchers and problem solvers, and as adults have strong opportunities in the marketplace. It’s no surprise gamers solved a science problem. From helping to defeat hackers and terrorists to curing cancer, they may yet become heroes like the characters they explored in the games.

    • Carrie Mayhew

      As a teacher, I have studied and worked with Carla Hannaford’s learning styles according to ear, eye, brain hemisphere, hand and foot dominancs from her book “The Dominance Factor”. There are 32 different combinations, each style being equal but different than all others. It is simply a discovery of how your brain is “wired” and learning how to learn, express and retain information. Studies show that Einstein had dominances that were all on the right side. This is a very intuitive learning style. These type of learners are problem solvers and “out of the box” thinkers. They make great leaders, but have a hard time with follow through on the details. I would be interested to know what learning style these gamers had.

  • chuckb

    watching tv shows anymore is like watching a hyped up tennis match, the scenes flip by so fast it’s hard to mentally digest the story. could this be the result of the past generation growing up in the video game era and then carrying it into tv movie production. some of the shows are mind boggling they flash by so fast. it is a phenomenon.

    • r.p.

      It’s called subliminal suggestion. Some Russian did research on it about a hundred years ago. I.E. “Pavlov’s Dogs”.

      • r.p.

        It’s widely used today in the MSM. Hence the fast flashing of videos and pics in commercials, movies and TV segments. It was at one time supposed to be monitored, but I think it has become too valuable of a tool for mass control. “THERE’S AS WAR GOING ON FOR YOUR MIND”

  • simian pete

    Personally, I don’t like interacting to much with other people. I’d rather be alone playing a good video game like “BioShock” or “BioShock 2″ … These 3d games take place in a Ayn Rand like dystopia. You have the underwater city of “Rapture” – just like Galt’s Gulch in “Atlas Shrugged”. …

    It’s to bad “Bioshock 3″ won’t be released until next year … HA HA !!

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