Study says that playing video games for between 1 and 5 hours a week can enhance perception and concentration.
Video games are often blamed for arousing aggressive thoughts and feelings and causing social isolation. But new research suggests that playing video games can have positive effects too.
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People who play video games for even a small amount of time have superior perception and concentration compared to those who don’t play video games at all. The findings reflect that playing video games is not always harmful and waste of time. It can help improve cognitive abilities if not played excessively or most part of the time.
For the study, researchers involved 43 participants age 19 to 44 and asked them to perform observation tasks, meaning they were shown a series of items on the screen. The items were rapidly changing at a speed of ten per second. Then, participants were asked to recall the details of those items. The first target was a white letter within the stream of otherwise black letters. Participants had to identify that letter and respond immediately by pressing the relevant letter on keyboard. The second target was based on identifying which way up was the letter “T,” which had to be in one of four orientations.
Upon the completion of the dual task, participants were also asked about their gaming habits or how much time they spend playing video a week over a year. Researchers found that participants who reported playing action games for 1 to 5 hours a week able to process visual information more accurately than those who did not play at all.
“It appears that even very moderate gamers have enhanced processing ability, leading to better performance in perceptual and attentional tasks," said lead researcher Dr Christina Howard from University's School of Social Sciences.
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“It could be the case that people who already have these superior perception and attention skills are drawn to gaming – or it might be that they develop these skills as a result of their video gaming activity. Either way, we believe the findings might have implications for everyday activities which require enhanced rapid perception. This might include driving, sports – playing, refereeing or judging for instance – or professions which require close monitoring of systems, such as CCTV.”