Most studies in children and adolescents focus on “addiction difficulties” and “gaming addiction.” Several studies, however, suggest that, aside from the possibility of a video game-related disease, there would be benefits to cognitive performance.
We will address a topic that the scientific literature has studied in several fields: the link between video games and brain development. So, what video games genre can help develop personal and interpersonal skills and competencies?
Action video games (shooters, war games, zombies) have shown promising outcomes in enhancing cognitive abilities such as spatial attention, multitasking ability, and adapting our behavior based on established rules. A study showed that action video games activate many sections of the brain, and diverse cognitive functions simultaneously would positively impact cognitive growth compared to non-gamers or players of other genres.
Real-Time Strategy (RTS) games are cognitively demanding tasks requiring attention, sensorimotor skills, team cooperation, and strategy-making abilities.
A study has shown that individuals who perform well at RTS games have demonstrated above-average information processing and cognitive abilities. For example, they are better than non-players at associating their brain’s resources with specific visual signals and allocating them between consistent visual stimuli.
Simulation games are popular not only among gamers but also among pilots, professional drivers, and astronauts. When flying a plane, you must be careful of your surroundings and fuel levels and simultaneously listen to communications and flight. Simulation aviation games have long been used to improve pilot attention levels. According to studies, they enhance the acceleration of cognitive processes; however, they also help accelerate the practical acquisition of knowledge, skills, and behaviors.
Even platform games can change your brain’s makeup, according to a study from 2013. Some games, such as Super Mario 64, help stimulate the brain regions involved with hand-eye coordination, navigation, memory, and strategy.
The other side of the coin
Despite what appears to be beneficial results in delaying cognitive decline, studies have revealed concurrent harmful impacts, such as brain atrophy in particular brain areas. However, it is not the same for all games as the study observed that players of action video games (Call of Duty and Fortnite) develop brain atrophy, while players of 3D games (Super Mario series) increase the gray matter present in the hippocampus.
One more thing to keep in mind is to carefully select the video games we want to play, be aware that there are effects on our cognitive abilities, and then balance the importance of worrying about these effects with the pleasure of playing.
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