What the game does to your brain — and how you can profit from it

FortniteThe ability to keep players playing – not dependent, but certainly glued to the screen for extended periods – is well documented. In 2018, a year after the official release of the game, a 9-year-old girl in the UK was taken to rehabilitation after deliberately bathing to continue playing – it became international news. A year later, in 2019, a Montreal law firm searched it launch a class action lawsuit against Epic Games; they claimed that Epic had intentionally conceived the game to be addictive. Prince Harry – as in the royal that is the sixth in line to the British throne – proclaimed, during a media event, “That game should not be allowed.»

Despite the bad press, Fortnite, and games like that, have proven brain-related benefits. First and third person shooters are getting better spatial reasoning, decision, and, contrary to popular belief, attentions. In a published article yes Men’s health, writer Yo Zushi said that “even the heart pressure you feel while your partner is chasing you in Fortnite Battle Royale it’s good for you: “Positive stress” in the context of the game helps motivate you, while also increasing your ability to focus on IRL ”.

That’s not all Doom (and Gloom)

Neurological and psychological research on video games is in its infancy – it’s in its first alpha phase, if you will. That’s why video games, as we know them, are modern inventions. And when you evaluate the research so far, studies show that it’s not all warnings and concerns. In fact, video games can be effective tools for improving our brains and our cognitive skills — especially in the long run.

The search for video games really began in the late 1990s, with Daphne Bavelier and C. Shawn Green leading the charge while at the University of Rochester. They began exploring the unconventional idea that video games could have an impact and perhaps even help with neuroplasticity – a biological process where the brain changes and adapts when exposed to new experiences.

After years of research, they have found that action games in particular – games where reflexes, reaction time and hand-eye coordination are challenged, as in the now retro classics Doom and Team Fortress Classic– has provided tangible cognitive benefits that help us in everyday life. As Bavelier and Green have pointed out in the Issued July 2016 by Scientific American: “Individuals who regularly play action games show an improved ability to concentrate on visual details, useful for reading fine print in a legal document or in a prescription bottle. They also show a higher sensitivity to the visual contrast, important when driving in thick fog … The multitasking needed to switch back and forth between reading a menu and having a conversation with a dinner companion comes even easier ”.

In Bavelier’s TEDxCHUV discussion “Your Brain on Video Games”She makes the case that she plays action games like that Call of Duty in reasonable doses it is positively potent. While parents perceive their children’s virtual zombie and designate “bad” type of shooting as brainless, it should instead be considered as a brain stimulant, he says.

Others, too, have announced the benefits of the brain in video games. For example, UC Irvine researchers found that 3D games can improve the functioning of the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain that is involved with learning and memory. Meanwhile, researchers from Queen Mary University of London and University College London have found that video games can help mental agility and improve strategic thinking. This is in correlation with what James Mitchell, a UX designer and passionate gamer, told me when I asked how he thought the video games impacted him: “I definitely think my critical thinking and strategy have improved, and I find it easier to predict certain movements, especially in relation to other games, and even card games. I have also learned to be more unpredictable with my movements. “

Get the Boost Boost, Without the Disadvantages

Despite the search for video games being a recent phenomenon, it has been shown that video games provide out-of-the-box brain gains – good news for those of us partial to a video game (or two, or three, or 400). They may, however, have the potential to suck to a degree that is not healthy, which could manifest as addiction to video games.

So what can be done to ensure that our brain gains +3 agility and +3 intelligence without suffering from -5 stamina? How can you maintain a healthy relationship with video games? Like C. Shawn Green — who, along with earning a PhD in Brain and Cognitive Studies, has worked as a game developer in the Doom series – told WIRED: “What a healthy game might look like in practice can differ greatly between individuals, and throughout life (e.g., in children versus adults). In other words, there is no such thing. truly a unique guide for everyone to a whole game that works for everyone-is-a-different human dimension. ” Generally speaking, though, it’s important to be aware of how games can influence other areas of our lives in the short and long term, says Green. “It’s a matter of thinking about the pros and cons,” he said.

Of course, the fact that games are specifically designed to keep you playing makes us follow this advice further. But staying aware of our gaming habits (and our families), making sure we run away sometimes to do other things, and ending up playing video games in a way that keeps us unrestricted and hedonic treadmill, there is the potential to exploit the game to be mentally more resilient, faster and smarter IRL.

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