The number of criticisms against gaming are to numerous to keep track of. “They’re melting your brain”. “They’re ruining your eyes”. “They’re turning you into a violent person.” They are so ubiquitous, that they border on cliches. But what does the science actually say? Are any of these worries founded in scientific fact? Are video games bad for you? Well, here are 3 reasons to play video games.
Video Games Make Your Brain Grow
In 2013, Simone Kuhn a psychologist and Senior Researcher at the Max-Planx Institute for Human Development, studied the effects of prolonged game exposure on young adults. Her testing showed that areas of grey matter expanded after game play.
Subjects played Super Mario 64 for 30 minutes each day for two months. MRI scans showed that the pre-frontal cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum had all grown when compared to a control group.
“The pre-frontal cortex is known to be involved in higher cognitive functions including strategic planning, but also in cognitive control,” Kühn says.
“The hippocampus is involved in memory formation,” the psychologist continues,” with the right hippocampus being particularly involved in spatial navigation, namely in helping us orient ourselves.
“The cerebellum, on the other hand, is known to be involved with fine motor function, and the region in which we found the changes after video game playing is, predictably, the region where the digits of the hands are controlled.”
Gaming Improves Your Eyesight
A study from Canada’s McMaster University in 2012 showed that playing video games greatly improved eyesight of visually impaired people.
Test subjects ranged from 19 to 31 and where all born with cataracts in both eyes. While they had their problem fixed through surgery they all had trouble reading small print and identifying faces.
Yet after playing a FPS for 40 hours over a 1 month period each one was able to read one or two lines further down on the standard eye chart. They also got better at following direction of movement and distinguishing between faces.
Video Games Can Fix Attention Problems
Dr Daphne Bavelier is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an expert in the field of Brain & Cognitive Sciences. Her work, that focuses heavily on the effects of video gaming, was the feature of a 2012 TED talk. During her talk she showed the audience the infamous”word color” test. Her study showed that non-gamers are easily confused by the puzzle as regular gamers aren’t.
Are video games bad for you?
So whats the final verdict. Are video games bad for you? Study after study have shown that no, they are not. In fact they are greatly beneficial to you. They don’t make you stupid. They don’t burn your eyes. They don’t turn you into a mindless zombie. So have fun and keep playing!