How gaming can improve our brain?

Gaming has been one of the most popular hobbies that people have had during the past 30 years. However, a great sector of people hated videogames – and they have been accusing this hobby as activities that are very dangerous for the next generation of minds. Videogames were always polemic because of the violence they often show, or the addiction they can cause of some people. Do videogames corrupt the way minds act? Or even so, do videogames make minds less smart? We are not going to answer those questions, but we will show to the reader that gaming has positive effects in people when they are properly used.

Through the years, videogame industry has been changing, and lot researchers have been changing their perceptions about videogames – to the point they are very conscious about how videogames can positively improve cognitive abilities of a lot of people. 

The question of our doubts is: can gaming improve our cognitive abilities? And the answer is yes. Absolutely.

But remember: too much of anything is bad! Eating broccoli to excess can be toxic for your body, if you drink so much water you could get sick, and one of the most common mistakes of people is that generally, they think videogames can be addictive and therefore they are a negative influence for minds. And if you consider yourself a gamer, you should ask yourself: do I play videogames so much? Am I fulfilling the rest of the activities that are supposed to be done by me? Because remember, if you play videogames to excess it could be turned into an addiction – a real big problem for you. Too much of everything is bad.

First of all, we are going to start by a very interesting study in which researchers discovered that gaming improve cognitive functions in people.  After playing videogames by using specific routines, results were more than interesting in diverse areas of cognition. 

The first study is related to Super Mario 64, one of Shigeru Miyamoto’s masterpiece games of all time, next to Researchers took groups of people and put them the routine of playing this game for 30 minutes, every day for two months.

At the end of the study, they discovered that the participants of the research improved their memory because they could retain important information in their brain about the game; they improved their motor skills because they gained mastery over the N64 gamepad – allowing them to fully adapt themselves to the game’s mechanics and respond to Mario’s movement at the same time; and participants of the research also improved their strategic planning in real life, because when they did not have any idea of how could they overcome a new challenge in the game, they had to create new strategies in order to create possibilities to overcome the problems that the game introduced to them in every level of the game.

Those who did not participate in the investigation did not increase any of those abilities, and their mental and motor skills, together with their motor skills were in their average all time. So this is a clear evidence of how a videogame can improve your brain quite a lot.

A lot of people are still thinking that action games only teach violence to minds, and in reality, action games can help too. 

According to researchers, if you play action games from 5 to 10 hours per week, you will realize about important changes in your brain. 

One of the abilities action/shooter games can increase is the capacity of being able to react quicker to stimulus. As you have to encounter a lot of targets in a reduced period of time, if you want to survive in action games, you must be quick and be able to perceive enemy attacks as fast as possible. Your senses are going to be sharper as you are going to evade problematic situations in less time than the average.

Gaming can also improve your sight senses, increasing the amount of targets you can catch with your eyes – and even being able to improve your attention to details. In some action games like Halo, you have to be careful as there are enemies that explode and harm you if they are shot in front of you. Not all enemies explode; in fact the ones with that ability look different. You must pay attention to them, identify them from the rest in the moment, and eliminate the threat when they are far from your position. Your brain is actually more efficient in areas associated with attention, and this is why action games help a lot in these cognitive areas.

Education and videogames can also coexist. As you should know, a lot of videogames unconsciously help you to read faster and accurately, because they have a lot of texts in them. People who play graphic novels are said to improve their eyesight because of this. 

Gamers can even be able to detect differences in contrast – one of the most important color concepts that decay when you get older. Also, your eyes can track more objects at the same time when you are gaming – the average of objects we can track is between 3 to 4 and gamers can track from 6 to 7. Finally, it has been shown that a videogame player brain ages slower than the majority by approximately 7 years.

As you can see, there are a lot of cognitive abilities you can improve when you play videogames. Your brain is going to be good unless you do not play enough, so what are you waiting for? Take your favorite games and enjoy them. But remember: do not games to excess, as it can affect you and your brain negatively if you do not take on other tasks of your daily life.