Video games would improve decision-making ability and speed

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Today, the world of video games has evolved so much that it has conquered more “followers” than ever. In particular, it hits very big targets and can be adapted to countless types of games. These possibilities have then given rise to authentic addictive phenomena, sometimes affecting health, and causing fear among parents. However, little research has been done on the positive effects that video games can have on health. One of them recently highlighted that video games can improve the ability to make correct decisions quickly and accurately. In tests conducted as part of the study, regular gamers (more than five hours a week) showed superior sensorimotor decision-making ability and increased activity in relevant brain regions, compared to “non-gamers” (less than One hour a week). . These results open up new perspectives, including the possibility of using certain video games in education and training systems.

Practiced or consumed in excess, many things can become harmful to health. Video games are regularly played by hundreds of millions of people around the world, the vast majority of whom are young. And if they are often practiced excessively, it is probably due to a lack of parental supervision.

This abuse can then lead to behavioral problems (partly linked to social isolation due to many hours of play) and health problems in the worst cases (sleep disorders, retinal degeneration).

By delving into the brains of regular gamers, previous studies They particularly incriminate war games, which would be responsible for the atrophy of certain regions such as the hippocampus (responsible for memory and spatial coordination). In this study, the researchers reportedly detected decreases in gray matter in “big players.”

When we play a war game, in fact, we would tend to request the striatum more, to acquire good reflexes. However, as the hippocampus is used less and stimulated less, it can eventually atrophy over time. According to the researchers, these results show that, in the long term, video games could cause serious or moderate mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia or depression.

However, other studies have also shown that video games may be beneficial for cognitive systems related to visual attention and short-term memory. The new study, led by Georgia State University, used fMRI to look at the effects of video games on brain activity during decision making.

As the practice of video games requires a rapid analysis of incoming sensory information and the repeated making of precise and rapid decisions, it is interesting to be able to observe brain activity in vivo at these precise moments.

« The vast majority of our young people play video games for more than three hours a week, but the beneficial effects on decision-making ability and the brain are not exactly known. », indicated Mukesh Dhamala, the study’s lead author and an associate professor at the University of Georgia Neuroscience Institute.

speed and accuracy

As part of the study, published in the journal direct science, the researchers analyzed fMRIs from 47 university volunteers. 28 of them were classified as regular players, while another 19 were mostly non-players.

Subjects underwent an MRI while simultaneously looking at a mirror where they could see a signal followed by a screen of moving dots. Then they had to press a button placed on each hand to indicate the same rapid movements and the directions of the light points. They also had to “resist” wanting to press the buttons when the dots were stationary.

The results revealed that regular players were more accurate when pressing buttons. Furthermore, brain imaging revealed that the differences were related to increased activity in certain areas of the brain, indicating improvement in various sensory and action mapping threads to enhance decision-making skills, stimulated by video games.

Also, the speed of decision making among regular players did not hinder their accuracy. According to the authors, certain games can thus serve as cognitive training for decision-making. However, it should be noted that these findings do not exclude the negative effects of video games on the brain. Therefore, more studies are needed to really weigh the pros and cons and possibly determine the thresholds at which harms outweigh benefits.

Font : direct science

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