Don't let your kids see this new science report. Playing action games improves cognitive functions, even matching specially designed brain games.
Playing action video games has positive effects on the brain, says new research. There have been reports before about the positive effects of playing video games on the brain. A new research report specifically points to action games as having the most impact on brain functions.
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Drs. C. Shawn Green and Aaron R. Seitz identified action video games which feature quickly moving targets that come in and out of view, include large amounts of clutter, and that require the user to make rapid, accurate decisions, have particularly positive cognitive impacts, even when compared to "brain games," which are created specifically to improve cognitive function.
The researchers mention Wolfenstein: The New Order and Grand Theft Auto V as examples of video games that have impact on cognitive functions. Games like Minecraft, The Sims, Angry Birds and Candy Crush lack this positive effect on the brain.
"Action video games have been linked to improving attention skills, brain processing, and cognitive functions including low-level vision through high-level cognitive abilities. Many other types of games do not produce an equivalent impact on perception and cognition," the researchers stated. "Brain games typically embody few of the qualities of the commercial video games linked with cognitive improvement."
Green and Seitz make clear that while action games in particular have not been linked to problems with sustaining attention, research has shown that total amount of video game play predicts poorer attention in the classroom.
Furthermore, video games are known to impact not only cognitive function, but many other aspects of behavior - including social functions - and this impact can be either positive or negative depending on the content of the games.
This means that spending too much time playing video games is bad, especially for kids. Playing action games though has the most positive impact on the brain. So more GTA and less Candy Crush.
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The findings have been published in the new issue of Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, a Federation of Associations in Behavioral & Brain Sciences (FABBS) journal published by SAGE.