Whether using a console, the computer or our mobile phone, even at least once, who has not played a video game? Although they were born in the last century, the 21st century is and promises to be the true “century of video games”.
Every year, hundreds of new designs, devices, and challenges that are more difficult to overcome are launched on the market. Also, the number of addicts to these technologies do not stop growing and there are already those who consider them an art.
But … have you ever wondered what effects video games have on the brain or what can cause brain function? Is it as bad as your parents point out? Will it really have any benefit? Let’s see what the scientists say.
Video games improve visual attention
According to a series of studies developed by a group of researchers from the University of Rochester, certain video games – especially those that include a lot of action – can help improve visual attention.
Visual attention is based on the brain’s ability to process the visual information that is really relevant and suppress the non-relevant. What has been proven in these studies is that in experiments related to visual attention, video game regulars of this class, such as Halo, consistently outperform non-players.
For this reason, several studies, trials, and exercises are currently being developed to determine the usefulness of the practice of these games, for example, in military training.
In search of a more practical and intelligent purpose, procedures are also being carried out to determine if they are usefully applied to therapeutic treatments, for example, to improve certain visual impairments.
Video games increase brain volume
Did you know that a game as well known as Super Mario can increase the gray matter of the brain that makes up the cerebral cortex? This if you did not expect it, huh?
According to a recent study by the prestigious Max Plank Institute, significant increases in gray matter content were found in the right hippocampus, the prefrontal cortex and the cerebellum in those who play strategy games.
Bearing in mind that the hippocampus is responsible for forming, organizing and storing memories; that the prefrontal cortex intervenes in decision making, planning, impulse control and problem-solving; and that the cerebellum controls the coordination of movements and balance, it is not surprising that the increase in gray matter significantly improves cognitive function in these specific regions.
Video games and aggressive behavior
Much has been discussed about the relationship between the violence of some children and adolescents with the characteristics of some video games. Although this is a very tough issue and still generates controversy, there are studies that show that violent games like World of Warcraft are harmless for the vast majority of children and only influence aggression in a minority, more precisely, in minorities with pre-existing personality disorders.
Those who bother easily, care little for others, get depressed frequently, tend to be neurotic, break the rules usually or act without thinking, are the most likely to be adversely affected by violent video games.
In fact, a study published in an article in the prestigious Journal of Personality and Social Psychology showed that in these teenagers, games as innocent as Tetris or Candy Crush provoked in them as much aggressiveness as that caused by extremely violent games, such as Grand Theft Auto.
Counteract the effects of aging
Among other things, it has been shown that playing certain games designed specifically to improve cognitive performance, has stimulated very positively some highly relevant skills, such as memory and attention in people between 60 and 85 years of age.
This indicates that properly used video games can also be very useful when reverting with their use part of the cognitive deterioration associated with aging.
Surprised? Did you know all these effects that video games can have on our brain functioning? Do you like video games?
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