to University of Rochester scientists, certain
video games can help people make decisions faster without compromising
of Rochester cognitive scientists Daphne Bavelier, C. Shawn Green, and
Alexandre Pouget have conducted a study showing that video
games can aid in quicker decision-making in humans.
report by the Entertainment Software Association said that approximately 68
percent of American households contain people who play video games. This number
may outrage those who believe that video games make people lazy, and is a
useless hobby that doesn't intellectually stimulate those
who play them. But now, scientists at the University of Rochester
are saying otherwise.
Green and Pouget have conducted a study where the test subjects were
"dozens" of people ranging from 18-to 25-years-old and who were not
video game players. The subjects were split into two groups where one played 50
hours of "Call of Duty 2" and "Unreal Tournament" while the
other group played 50 hours of "The Sims 2." "Call of Duty
2" and "Unreal Tournament" are fast-paced games requiring strategy
and quick decision-making while "The Sims 2" is slow-moving and does
not require a lot of quick decisions.
their gaming experience, the test subjects were asked to look at a screen and
make quick decisions regarding the various tasks occurring on that screen. An
example of the visual tasks was watching a set of dots move about the screen
erratically, then noting if they having been moving to the right or to the left
on average. Other tasks included auditory tests as well.
researchers concluded that the group who played "Call of Duty 2" and
"Unreal Tournament" were 25 percent faster at making these decisions
than the group who played "The Sims 2." Also, the first group was
able to accurately answer as many questions as the second slower group.
to the University of Rochester scientists, this shows that video games with
fast-paced, strategic themes help gamers continuously calculate and refine
probabilities in their minds, leading to quick decision-making. The process is
called probabilistic inference, where the brain gathers small pieces of
auditory or visual information while the person is observing a specific area.
Once enough information is gathered, the brain can make a decision. With
action video games, people are
putting this process to use continuously and on a regular basis, helping them
make faster decisions that are just as accurate as those who take longer to
make a decision.
not the case that the action game players are trigger-happy and less accurate:
They are just as accurate and also faster," said Bavelier. "Action
game players make more correct decisions per unit time. If you are a surgeon or
you are in the middle of a battlefield, that can make all the difference."
This study was
published in Current Biology.