Over the course of the last 40 years digital technology has changed and helped improve society. We are currently in the middle of the digital age. But one of the greatest achievements of the digital age would have to be in entertainment, especially video games. Despite to most contrary beliefs, video games can have a positive influence to the way your brain is shaped, wired, and the way it functions. Some examples include how some games can help augment a person’s attention and stimuli response. There have been studies were playing certain games for a certain amount of time can help increased brain’s overall mass and plasticity. But not only has that it also given people the ability to solve an array of different problems and puzzle. In this essay I am going to talk how playing video games can help increase the overall mental strength, agility, and perception of one’s brain.
Whether it is they’re trying to find an enemy’s attack pattern or concentrating on the rhythm of a song, one thing that video games are well known for is drawing in someone’s attention. But compared to how they concentration in game, how great is a gamer’s attention in real life. According to the article “Action video game players’ visual search advantage extends to biologically relevant stimuli,” gamers, more specifically gamer who are into action games like the first and third person shooter genre, tend to respond to stimuli a lot better than non-gamers. This is true because the action genre is nowadays is centered around “fast paced and attention demanding gameplay.” Joseph D. Chisholm stated “action video games have demonstrated performance benefits across a variety of visual search paradigms”(p. 93–95 ). A group of researcher had ran an experiment between action video game player and non-action video game players, they put them through several oculomotor trails to test the speed and accuracy of their eye movement. After several weeks of playing games for three hours a day they ran the experiment again and found significant results. They found that that everyone’s oculomotor skills have increased greatly. However when it came to the test subjects who played action video games most of the time, their overall average was about 14.9% better than those who didn’t play action games. Action games like “Call of duty” or “Battlefield” have the player constantly reacting to very specific details, from the shadows of other players to the sound of enemy footsteps. It’s up to the player to initialize what is going on or what is about to happen and then respond to that action as fast as possible. This is most likely the reason why the Action video game players responded to the trials at a much faster rate than the ones who didn’t. Since video games can help shape and improve our brain’s overall attention and accuracy, then that would also mean that video games can also help improve our brain’s mass and plasticity.
John Medina book “Brain Rules” he said that the brain is plastic meaning that it can be molded and reshaped through the things we learn and experience, and video games are just another factor that can contribute to it plasticity. Not long ago I had conducted an interview with one of my friends Demario Oliver, who was recently doing research on a similar project. I had asked him, “Do you think that video games can help improve our brain’s mass and plasticity?” He then said “Video games are a great way to influence our brain’s mass and plasticity; they help promote creative and logically thinking and can also increase our response time. In fact there are a lot of tests that provide evidence towards video games and an increase in gray matter.” I also asked him, “What types of games do you think work best to can help improve our brain’s mass and plasticity?” He said “the games I think work best to promote brain growth and neuro plasticity would be, puzzle games such as “Tetris” because they help to promote things like critical thinking and spatial reasoning. Real time strategy and Multiplayer online battle arenas such as “League of legends” because it helps to promotes long term strategy and on the fly thinking. And finally fast pace games like the first and third person shooter genre to because it helps improve out response time, attention to detail, and perception.” He then referred me to an article explaining even more information about improving our brain growth and plasticity. According to the article “Video Gaming Can Increase Brain Size and Connectivity”, a group of scientist conducted a study that found that playing video gaming can aid in the stimulation of neuron growth and connectivity in the areas of the brain. Some of these areas include, parts that are in charge of spatial positioning, parts responsible for the formation of memories parts responsible for strategic development, and not to mention it also aids in fine motor skills. And when it comes to skills like these, there are many different genres of games that help aid them, but the best genre that helps work on them as a whole is the puzzle genre.
When it comes to games like Tetris, candy crush, or the portal series, the puzzle genre is a very popular market. But even though there mostly just games, the puzzle genre has had a lot of positive benefits for both the plasticity of the brain, and some of life’s real world problems not to mention that they also help to promote both creative and logical thinking. I recently had conducted an interview with my aunt Arleta Crump who is currently a teacher at The Georgia Institute of Technology about what she thinks about the puzzle genre and the benefits it can have for the brain. I asked her, “what do you think of the puzzle genre and the benefits it can have?” she said, “I think they’re okay and at times it can be very challenging, and I guess as for the benefits I guess a lot of them really make you think or test your memory.” I went on to ask her, “Have you ever played or know of a puzzle game(s) that requires you think outside of the box, and how did you feel about it?” She went on to take about a three types of games “Fez” which is two-dimensional puzzle platformer that is set in a three dimensional world that mostly focuses on spatial reasoning and perspective. “Portal” a game all about navigating different rooms with portals that also focuses on spatial reasoning but also had involve strategic and creative thinking, and fine motor skills. And finally she also talked about escape the room games, games that require you to think outside the box and find clue to finish. Games like these have a lot of benefit to them, however when it comes to games in general there are many who believe otherwise.
Despite all the benefits that video games have there are still many people who not only believe they have no benefit, but they can so addicting they can actually hinder our brain. According to the article “Game Theory: How do video games affect the developing brains of children and teens?”, they say that too much time in front of the screen could a number of mental and physical problems with the brain such as; Gray matter atrophy which is they describe as the loss or shrinkage of brain tissues in certain areas like the frontal lobe. They also say that there is the chance of certain cognitive functions being impaired like impulse control and strategic planning. Not to mention, combining too much screen with some of the games we play, more specifically a lot of violent games like “Grand Theft Auto” or “Mortal Kombat” could have a negative effect on someone behavioral and mental state. They even preformed x-rays of several brains to try and determine a link between how long you play video games and the abnormalities it can cause. But in the end they’re trying to say that too much screen time could lead to impaired brain function and structure especially in places like the frontal lobe where a lot of thought takes place.
In conclusion, despite to most contrary beliefs, video games can have a positive influence to the way your brain is shaped, wired, and the way it functions. A lot of games that revolve around fast pace gameplay like “CoD” and “Battlefield” help encourage attention to detail and increased stimuli response, in the end a lot of gamers could potentially heighten there reflexes. The puzzle genre has had a lot of positive benefits for both the plasticity of the brain, and some of life’s real world problems not to mention that they also help to promote both creative and logical thinking. Playing video gaming can aid in the stimulation of neuron growth and connectivity in the areas of the brain like strategic development and spatial positioning. But in th end, even though there are many people who think otherwise and say things that make video games sound like their making us dumber, they just need to do more research and consider the benefits that video games have.
- Work cited
- Oliver, Demario, Personal Interview. 19 November 2015
- Dunckley, Victoria. “Gray Matters: Too Much Screen Time Damages the Brain .” psychologytoday.com. (Feb.27, 2014 Friday): 1,381 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 5 Dec 2015.
- Kingstone, Alan. Chisholm, Joseph D., “Action video game players’ visual search advantage extends to biologically relevant stimuli.” sciencedirect.com (July 2015): 93–99 Pages. Academic Search Complete. Web. . Date Accessed:18 Nov. 2015.
- Crump, Arleta, Personal interview. 25 November 2015.
- Bergland, Christopher, “Video Gaming Can Increase Brain Size and Connectivity” psychologytoday.com. (31 Oct, 2015). 99 Pages Web. Date Accessed: Sun. 28 Nov. 2015