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Gamers outperformed non-gamers at every time interval in visual tests

Gamers who sit in front of their consoles all day may actually be gaining better visual and decision-making abilities over non-gamers. 

Duke University researchers, led by Greg Appelbaum (an assistant professor of psychiatry in the Duke School of Medicine), found that gamers were better at quick visual and decision-making tests than non-gamers. 

The study used 125 college participants who were either hardcore gamers or non-gamers. The participants were asked to play a certain game where eight letters were arranged in a circle. The letters only appeared for one-tenth of a second.

Once the letters vanished, an arrow would point to a certain area in the circle where a letter had been. It was up to the participants to remember which letter was in that position. 

According to the study's results, delays in decision-making ranged from 13 milliseconds to 2.5 seconds. Both gamers and non-gamers experienced a rapid decay in memory of where the letters had been, but one thing was for sure -- gamers were quicker to the draw than non-gamers at every time interval.


Appelbaum explained that our visual system analyzes and sifts information out from what the eyes are seeing. Data that isn't used decays quickly, and while gamers sift the unused data about as fast as anyone else, they seem to be starting with more information before they even begin.

Playing video games means paying close attention to the surroundings within the fictional world to either ward off enemies, find important items or travel to a certain destination. Appelbaum said that putting a lot of time into these kinds of games can increase experience, and allow the gamers to have a better sense of visual placement and decision-making. 

This led the researchers to conclude that gamers likely see better overall, and can make better decisions from the information they have. 

"Gamers see the world differently," said Appelbaum. "They are able to extract more information from a visual scene."

This study can be found in the June edition of Attention, Perception and Psychophysics.

Source: Science Daily





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