After the horrific shooting sprees at Columbine High School in 1999 and Virginia Tech in 2007, players of violent video games, such as first person shooter (FPS) games, have often been accused in the media of being impulsive, antisocial, or aggressive.
However, the question is: do first person shooter games also have positive effects for our mental processes? At the University of Leiden, researchers investigated whether gaming could be a fast and easy way to improve your memory.
Develop an adaptive mindset
Indeed, the new generations of FPS (compared to strategic) games are not just about pressing a button at the right moment but require the players to develop an adaptive mindset to rapidly react and monitor fast moving visual and auditory stimuli.
Gamers compared to non-gamers
In a study published in the journal Psychological Research, Dr. Lorenza Colzato and her fellow researchers compared, on a task related to working memory, people who played at least five hours weekly with people who never played video games.
More flexible brain
The researchers found that gamers outperformed non-gamers. They suggest that video game experience trains your brain to become more flexible in the updating and monitoring of new information enhancing the memory capacity of the gamers.
Video about the research: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuZy5bWO3uk
- Lorenza S. Colzato, Wery P. M. Wildenberg, Sharon Zmigrod, Bernhard Hommel. Action video gaming and cognitive control: playing first person shooter games is associated with improvement in working memory but not action inhibition. Psychological Research, 2012; 77 (2): 234 DOI: 10.1007/s00426-012-0415-2
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