Real Research, Real Simple

Video gamers see more and think faster

Video game controller
Photo by Steve Petrucelli on Flickr
Video games have their benefits. Yes, you read that correctly. Thanks to researchers at Duke University, there is proof that very intensive gaming can train the brain to digest visual data better and faster. How’s that for an unexpected perk?Though researchers declined the intense hobby themselves, they did study college students. Participants were either very intensive gamers or non-gamers. All were given a visual sensory memory task. Basically, they had to look at a screen on which eight letters would flash for one-tenth of a second. They were then asked to identify the letter that had appeared in a randomly-selected position. The gamers won – hands-down – in every variation of the test.Apparently, all human brains quickly filter out unused visual info. The difference? Gamers either collect more info than the rest of us, make better decisions, or both. Looks like gamers will have to volunteer for MRI brain scans to help scientists solve this puzzle. For now, they can continue to save the world in their virtual reality, while fine-tuning their minds in our reality.

About the author

Melissa Carmen Cheung, PhD

Passionate about sharing science with the public in a fun and accessible way, Melissa is a Medical Communications professional who earned her Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Toronto. Though her research focused on the design of novel cancer therapeutics, Melissa is intrigued by all facets of science. Her goal in life is to captivate people with the same excitement she feels for science.

  • DKLo

    I knew my video game skills were good for something! Nice picture too btw!