Games have been an integral part of most people’s childhood. Be it the physical games that were mainstream till the turn of this century or the video games that have now completely morphed into a culture in themselves, games have remained constant.
While everyone swears by the benefits of games that involve movement (and rightly so), video games or online games have been bearing the brunt of most criticism due to the sedentary lifestyle that they encourage.
It is true that gaming, in the sense that we know it today, does not lead to any significant movement of the body. However, this does not mean that it does not have any benefits for children and adults alike.
In fact, scientists the world over have been intrigued by the impact of computer/video games on the human brain and the results of their studies have been nothing short of surprising. In this post, we shall look at 5 potential benefits of gaming on the human brain.
May Improve Brain Performance –
Research done by scientists at the University of California, San Francisco shows that video games specifically designed to improve cognitive control have the potential to reverse some of the negative effects of aging. The research used a customized 3-D video game for improving brain performance and the results were encouraging.
To be specific, when we refer to the possibility of video games improving brain performance, we talk about two specific areas – memory and attention. When we play any kind of online game, these are two cognitive skills that are required and are exercised and hence may lead to improvement or at least prevent worsening of these skills.
Helps In Multi-Tasking –
Whether one is playing a war-themed game or just playing slots for online casino bonus, there is multi-tasking involved. Turns out these games are not completely mindless and can help kids and adults both with improving their multitasking abilities.
Yes, there is an ongoing debate about whether multitasking is even productive but the reality is that in life, one is constantly bombarded with tasks, some of which need to be accomplished at the same time. If playing certain games improves this ability even by a fraction, it certainly is worth it.
Possible Positive Impact on Vision –
Obviously, eyesight is something that we acquire at birth and then its quality depends on the nutrition that we get in our early years. We are not implying that playing certain games improves your eyesight. The point that we are trying to arrive at is a little nuanced.
There is something known as contrast sensitivity in the context of vision. It refers to the ability of humans to see the minutely different versions of gray. It has been seen that people who play video games for a sustained period of time have better contrast sensitivity than those who do not. Yes, this is true for not just games but any task that involves a similar exercise of the eyes
Leads To Faster Decision Making –
Think of it like this. A few minutes every day, you are playing a car racing game where lots of cars are competing with you and looking to bump you off the track. You need to be constantly alert so as to make quick decisions to not just save yourself from going off track but also maintain your speed to win the game.
Some would say, this is what real life is like – numerous obstacles on your way and tons of quick decisions that you need to make. Even if you are not prepared for the obstacle, at least the gaming experience will ensure that you do not get flabbergasted by it and give up.
Can Improve Manual Dexterity –
Most video game consoles these days come with controllers. These controllers are super effective when it comes to improving your manual dexterity. Hand-eye coordination is key in a lot of day-to-day activities.
In many stroke patients, controller-based games are used as a kind of physiotherapy so that they can regain control over their hands and wrists. In fact, research has shown signs that some surgeons who are also gamers in their free time make fewer mistakes than their counterparts who are not gamers. Certainly, these are not conclusive but they do provide some insights.
The sum and substance of the matter are that there are enough potential benefits of gaming on the human brain that should prevent it from being treated as a bad activity. This is not to say that kids should be given a free hand without any parental supervision.
The limited point is that these potential benefits of gaming boost the merit of the argument that gaming as an activity is not all bad and instead must be encouraged in kids and adults alike with self-imposed time limits to prevent addiction.