Print 22 comment(s) - last by Perry Tanko.. on Sep 12 at 1:31 AM

"StarCraft" gameplay  (Source:
However, playing games like "The Sims" does not

A new UK study shows that certain video games can help increase cognitive flexibility, or the ability to enhance strategic thinking and decision-making

Researchers from Queen Mary University of London and University College London (UCL) -- led by Dr. Brian Glass from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences -- have found that playing video games which require the use of memory and strategic thinking can improve problem-solving and task management outside of the video game's environment. 

The team recruited 72 participants -- all of which were female, since the study couldn't find any male participants that played video games for less than two hours per week -- who were asked to play assigned video games for 40 hours over a six to eight week period. 

The participants were divided into three groups: two that played different versions of "StarCraft" (a strategy video game where players have to create armies and battle an enemy) and one group that played "The Sims" (a video game that allows players to control the actions of people within the game, such as finding a job, finding love, etc.).

After the participants completed their assigned video games, they were given psychological tests to see how they performed with strategic problems. 

According to the results, those who played "StarCraft" performed much better on the post-game tests than those who played "The Sims." 

"The volunteers who played the most complex version of the video game performed the best in the post-game psychological tests," said Glass. "We need to understand now what exactly about these games is leading to these changes, and whether these cognitive boosts are permanent or if they dwindle over time. Once we have that understanding, it could become possible to develop clinical interventions for symptoms related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or traumatic brain injuries, for example."

This certainly isn't the first study to look into the effects of video games on decision-making. In 2010, researchers from the University of Minnesota found that those who played action video games helped improve decision-making. 

A year later, yet another study made the same claim. University of Rochester cognitive scientists found that those who played "Call of Duty 2" made quicker and more accurate decisions in post-game tests than those who played "The Sims 2."

Source: Science Daily

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the bigger question
By Captain Awesome on 8/22/2013 1:13:20 PM , Rating: 5
The bigger question that needs to be answered is, does The Sims make people retarded? Or are retards naturally drawn to playing The Sims?

RE: the bigger question
By techxx on 8/22/2013 1:20:19 PM , Rating: 2
Voted you up, haha! On that note, I'm a firm believer that certain games CAN make you dumber. The Sims may or may not be one.

RE: the bigger question
By XZerg on 8/22/2013 1:21:30 PM , Rating: 2

RE: the bigger question
By NellyFromMA on 8/22/2013 1:43:40 PM , Rating: 3
Probably not. DT forums on the other hand...

RE: the bigger question
By WoWCow on 8/22/2013 3:16:53 PM , Rating: 2
It boils down to how people play these games.

The best part about games (or any virtual simulators) is the ability to let players memorize, practice, and/or even THINK about how they act or respond without any physical consequences (Unless you happen to be a "Pro" gamer).

By my experience, player's behavior in the Sims seem to reflect their real life behavior as well (think 2nd life). And a long time ago, a PC Gamer writer said of a similar experience (I wake up, hop on my computer, do my job, and only got up from my chair to order pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner).

I suppose the only "real" joy coming from the Sims is that players can find success in a VR where they can't in RL (Hence "reality" TV shows).

People will make stupid decisions, plans, and actions at least once in their life. And yeah, who doesn't find it funny to see an avatar die from a stove fire once in a while?

(Disclosure: I have bought and played the Sims 1 and 3, I am a sad sad fellow who has studied general psychology).

RE: the bigger question
By Reclaimer77 on 8/22/2013 3:18:19 PM , Rating: 2
You could do a lot worst than the Sims lol.

I knew this guy who swore that Second Life was the best game ever. Why, I asked him. He demonstrated why by walking up to another female character, a complete stranger, and proceeded to pull out a giant penis and digitally ejaculate all over her.

Now look I'm not a prude, and I don't like to judge. But I think if that's your idea of good quality gaming you might have some sort of social disease or be a rapist or something lol.

RE: the bigger question
By Captain Awesome on 8/23/2013 8:33:08 AM , Rating: 2
LOL is your friend a sex offender in real life too?

btw, downloading Second Life now...

By kwrzesien on 8/22/2013 2:32:54 PM , Rating: 2
-- all of which were female, since the study couldn't find any male participants that played video games for less than two hours per week --


RE: Males
By kwrzesien on 8/22/2013 2:34:29 PM , Rating: 5
Good to know there are at least 72 females (now) that play Starcraft.

RE: Males
By amanojaku on 8/22/2013 4:39:00 PM , Rating: 2
That number seems familiar. They wouldn't happen to be the 72 virgins they promise you for martyrdom, would they? Bad enough they make you marry a smelly terrorist for the rest of eternity. Now they're being pulled from video games before the fun starts! Evil! j/k

RE: Males
By inperfectdarkness on 8/23/2013 3:21:47 AM , Rating: 2
48. The other 24 played SIMS.

As a gamer
By TSS on 8/22/2013 3:31:44 PM , Rating: 1
I've been a hardcore gamer all my life, and from my vast, vast experience i can safely say which game increases cognitive abilities the most.

It's called "STFU and study!".

Rated E for Everyone.

RE: As a gamer
By Integral9 on 8/22/2013 3:53:13 PM , Rating: 3
Surely you are referring to the FAQ

RE: As a gamer
By ven1ger on 8/22/2013 3:55:19 PM , Rating: 2
Let's see, due to my gaming during my college years, I was placed on academic probation and almost failed to graduate. Too much gaming is detrimental to one's studies, since then I've learned to temper my gaming habits.

RE: As a gamer
By althaz on 8/22/2013 7:01:46 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe for you, but for me playing competitive Starcraft (Broodwar and a hell of a lot of it) has improved my decision making, discipline, memory and fine motor skills (it improved my guitar and piano playing significantly).

Of course if you spend a lot of time doing something then you'll have less time to do other things - that doesn't mean the game is bad for you :).

By McGaiden on 8/22/2013 12:42:55 PM , Rating: 2
Right, but does these gains last for more than just right after the game is finished? I mean nothing is permanent, just like going to the gym isn't permanent, but if you do 3 sets a week for 30 mins or so, and you keep that up, you do get results that last and build upon themselves.

Is it the same here or does it dissipate much faster? That's what I'd be more interested in.
40 hours over a period of 8 weeks is 5 hours a week. That's more than most people spend at the gym if they go regularly.

So if you don't see the kind of permament change, say, two days after your last game and the day before your next, then it's obviously not as solid.

RE: Hmm.
By exeedorbit on 8/22/2013 1:53:43 PM , Rating: 2
I could definitely argue that it is indeed like riding a bike. Once you've got it, you've got it, but its effects do seem to wane after a certain period.

Just like with riding a bike, if you haven't done it in a while, you have to get used to it again. Even if you can still ride, you're not as skilled at it as say someone who rides every day.

It's a state of mind for me, thinking multidirectionally, multitasking becomes somewhat more manageable, and cognitive response tends to be quicker.

By SteelRing on 8/22/2013 1:00:12 PM , Rating: 2
I played starcraft the original extensively back in the days. I can categorically confirm the effect is permanent. It's like riding a bike, you don't forget that once you get it.

RE: Ditto
By Master Kenobi on 8/22/2013 1:36:55 PM , Rating: 2
I have to concur. It might be that people with these traits are drawn to these types of games, or the people who play them develop such traits. Either way the effect seems prevalent years after the fact.

By Da W on 8/22/2013 4:05:42 PM , Rating: 4
Civilization or Total War should show bigger benefits still. Starcraft basicly comes down to mining ressources faster than your rival, pump a horde of marines or zergling or Zealots, then select all, press A, click in a general direction.

LOL, StarCraft
By Perry Tanko on 9/12/2013 1:31:41 AM , Rating: 2
'Cognitive Flexibility'?
Are you freaking serious DailyTech?

Lemme tell you something. If North Korea ever decided to invade SK, SK would be toast. All that 'Cognitive Flexibility' would not mean jack s*** at that point.
but then again, I play Disgaea and Persona which are ummm... oh i better end this comment right now shouldn't I? :o

By laulie on 8/22/13, Rating: 0
"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference

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