Cognitive Benefits of Playing Fast Paced Video Games
While the art of Pro gaming is still a new concept to most people, it is quite common to be drawn into the false premise that playing video games causes health problems. This could not be further from the truth.
With the evolution of Esports and pro-gaming equipment like the X Rocker 51396 Gaming Chair, it is now very clear that game developers and their affiliates are now investing a lot of resources into creating a gaming environment that makes gamer health a top priority.
On the surface, fast-paced video games have been known to improve reaction time, as well as visual processing. The benefits, however, on a much larger scale, are more complex. Let’s take a look at some of the documented benefits that have to light over the years.
A recent publication by the Radiological Society of North America found that specific fast-paced video games could be used to strengthen and ultimately repair the neural pathways of people suffering from M.S. (Multiple Sclerosis). It was also seen to improve Thalamic function, to reduce symptomatic weakness, muscle stiffness and difficulty thinking in patients suffering from this disease.
The improved neuro-plasticity effect that causes this increased connectivity in the brain indicates that video games are a useful tool in aiding cognitive rehabilitation for people with neurological problems.
Cognitive benefits go beyond taking a cup of tea and using your phone at the same time, as mentioned earlier, the parameters are a bit more complex. Here we are talking about tracking multiple objects simultaneously, instinctive visual-motor coordination, how quickly you react and execute certain functions all blend together as the ultimate test to your adaptability.
Take a first-person shooter game like COD or PUBG, where you have to be constantly aware of your environment, where life and death depend on your ability to eliminate several targets simultaneously and make split-second decisions. This is all testament to how video games improve mental flexibility, as well as how well you process visual and audio demands.
Focus/Attention Capacity/Visual Selectivity
These three aspects are based on two separate research findings, the first was carried out by the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester. The other by the University of Arkansas. Both findings, despite being 8 years apart, indicated that pro gamers had more brain activity, better focus, and better visual selectivity in the sense that they took a second to process before making any sudden moves. They also indicated that even a short period of intense gaming improved attention capacity substantially!
When these findings were relayed to other tasks in real life, it was found that there was a trickle-down effect in terms of accuracy and reaction time in other activities that were closely related to the video games.
Accelerated Learning Curve
Lastly, it is also clear that playing fast-paced video games improves your ability to grasp and interpret concepts at a much quicker rate compared to other people without similar experiences. Perceptual learning tasks are performed much faster, adaptation to your surroundings is more seamless, and mental exercises produce more accurate results.
Fast paced video games change how your brain processes complex scenarios, they help you to think fast and react more appropriately, and they prevent impulsive, knee-jerk reactions and help you to know when and how to react.
Daphne Bavalier, a professor at the University of Rochester also emphasized that fast-paced video games are the best way to condition the brain to retain information, to improve attention and to complete cognitive exercises much faster and more efficiently.
Although research has made significant strides in proving the cognitive benefits of video games, there is still one significant drawback. The effects are still mostly short term. There is no direct correlation between 10 years of playing God of War with 10 years of improved cognitive function. This is a conclusion that will take a lot longer to prove.