• Studies Shine Light on the Positive Effects of Video Games

    Video games have earned a bad rep over the years. Here, a new study attempts to change that
  • Kids playing video games

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    While video games have been getting a lot of negative press when it comes to its effects on children, new research shows the positive effects, on the other hand, saying it could help young ones be faster learners and better behaved.

    “A lot of people still view video games as a time-wasting activity even though research is beginning to show their beneficial aspects,” said lead author Aaron Berard, a graduate student.


    The small study, published in the journal PLoS One, compared nine gamers and nine nongamers by asking them to complete two visual tasks. Then the researchers repeated the same exercise the next day and compared how participants improved.


    Results of the study have found that nongamers didn’t improve as well as the gamers did. “It may be possible that the vast amount of visual training frequent gamers receive over the years could help contribute to honing consolidation mechanisms in the brain, especially for visually developed skills,” read the study.


    “We sometimes see that an expert athlete can learn movements very quickly and accurately and a musician can play the piano at the very first sight of the notes very elegantly… maybe [gamers] can learn more efficiently and quickly as a result of training,” said senior author Yuka Sasaki.


    The authors of the study admit that more studies are needed to back up their claims. There is no proof that video games caused the gamers’ learning improvement since people with quick visual-processing skills could be naturally drawn to gaming.


    A separate study from Oxford University adds to the benefit of video games, saying that children who played video games in moderation were less violent and more behaved than nongamers.


    “Individuals who regularly played less than an hour a day of any type of game were actually less likely than their non-playing peers to fight with or bully peers, and were rated as better behaved by their teachers,” said study co-author Allison Fine Mishkin, a graduate student at Oxford Internet Institute.


    “This suggests that, in small doses, video games are a valuable and valid form of play which we do not need to fear,” she added.


    However, they also found that more than three hours of gaming caused the opposite effect; children tended to be more hyperactive, get involved in fights and not be interested in school.


    This study was published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture.


    Sources:
    April 6, 2015. "GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS | Videogames boost skills, but also harmful — studies". interaksyon.com
    April 3, 2015. "Violent Video Games Don't Influence Kids' Behavior". webmd.com
    April 1, 2015. "Level Up! Gamers May Learn Visual Skills More Quickly". time.com

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