A Uni­ver­si­ty of Ver­mont study found that those who play three or more hours a day, on aver­age, per­form bet­ter on cog­ni­tive and mem­o­ry tests than their peers.

Games have long been asso­ci­at­ed with vio­lence, anti­so­cial behav­ior and health prob­lems in young peo­ple. But researchers have found that gam­ing can be good for brain devel­op­ment.

The teens had their brains scanned while they com­plet­ed a series of tests that test­ed their reac­tion speed, prob­lem-solv­ing abil­i­ty and mem­o­ry. The chil­dren were asked how much time they spend play­ing video games each day and then divid­ed into two groups. All under­went func­tion­al MRI to mea­sure brain activ­i­ty while vol­un­teers wear­ing dig­i­tal vir­tu­al real­i­ty glass­es per­formed var­i­ous tasks.

The scans showed that chil­dren who played video games had, on aver­age, more activ­i­ty in an area of ​​the brain asso­ci­at­ed with atten­tion and mem­o­ry. They also had more activ­i­ty in their gyri, which may also be due to bet­ter impulse sup­pres­sion than the non-play­ing group.

Not only did the chil­dren involved in games get high­er grades, they also had a more active area of ​​the brain respon­si­ble for each func­tion. This study sug­gests that the pop­u­lar pas­time may also have cog­ni­tive ben­e­fits that mer­it fur­ther study.

The researchers say that video games can improve atten­tion and impulse con­trol because they require these skills to be prac­ticed. How­ev­er, the study was obser­va­tion­al, mean­ing it could not prove whether the increase in intel­li­gence was due to video games or anoth­er fac­tor. The sci­en­tists also did­n’t cat­e­go­rize games like action or strat­e­gy or whether they were sin­gle-play­er or mul­ti­play­er, which could affect the results. Pre­vi­ous­ly, sci­en­tists have found that the pas­sion for com­put­er games does not increase aggres­sive­ness in chil­dren.


By Yara