If you’re tired of being told that your time spent playing video games is being wasted, you may want to point your detractors to a new study published in
Nature. Researchers at the University of Rochester say that they’ve linked video games to better visual processing.
Shawn Green and Daphne Bavelier found that their video game-playing test subjects beat non-gamers in lab vision tests. Video gamers are also able to track up to five objects at a time — 30 percent more than non-gamers, according to the report.
And if you haven’t gotten bitten by the video gaming bug, it’s never too late — the study also looked at neophyte gamers. Newbies who invest just ten hours of game-time can improve their visual skills too.
One German neurobiologist quoted in a Nature article accompanying the published research paper (available online to subscribers) suggests that your brain’s nerve cells actually shift their shape when you play video games to communicate with each other more effectively. This may even have positive benefits for stroke and cataract patients, according to the article.
A Harvard Medical School researcher also asserted that “the least socially desirable” video games (the violent and aggressive ones) are most likely to have a positive mental and visual benefit. He speculated that the fight-or-flight nature of these games may be what makes the difference to your brain.