Can Video Games Improve Cognition?
The evidence on how good or bad video games are for us is fairly inconclusive at this point.
The truth is that some video games are probably good for some people, some of the time and and that some video games are probably bad for some people, some of the time.
But new research was specifically interested in the fairly recent emergence of ‘brain games’.
Why might video games be effective at improving cognition?
Video games are now extremely complex and often have input from a range of professionals such as psychologists and doctors. This is particularly the case with brain games that are designed to enhance skill in a particular area.
Brain games are designed to achieve this in a variety of ways for example by giving immediate positive feedback or by gradually increasingly difficulty levels so that users are constantly challenged.
So are video games actually beneficial?
Researchers concluded that:
- Playing some types of video games, particularly “action” video games, results in widespread enhancements in cognitive function.
- There is evidence that other types of games can also lead to similarly positive outcomes—for instance, certain custom designed “brain games.”
What is left to be seen is how video games can be used in a structured and regulated way in order to provide cognitive benefits safely and consistently for the public good.