A recent study from Georgia State University found that sensorimotor decision-making skills were superior in regular video game players to those that didn’t play video games.
Gaming in the name of health
“Video games are played by the overwhelming majority of our youth for more than three hours every week, but the beneficial effects on decision-making abilities and the brain are not exactly known,” says lead researcher Mukesh Dhamala.
“Our work provides some answers on that. Video game playing can effectively be used for training—for example, decision-making efficiency training and therapeutic interventions—once the relevant brain networks are identified.”
The study’s researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMR) to assess 47 college-age participants. 28 of these regularly played video games while 19 were categorized as non-players. Participants were placed in an FMR machine with a mirror that showed them a cue immediately followed by a display of moving dots. They were instructed to press buttons showing where the dots were moving, or not press anything if the dots were staying still.
The researchers found that not only were the video-game players faster with their responses, but they were more accurate. There didn’t seem to be any trade-off between accuracy and speed. The FMR brain scans showed that the video-game players had higher activity in parts of the brain associated with sensorimotor activity and decision-making. The researchers say that this could be used for important cognitive training for certain conditions.
“These results indicate that video game playing potentially enhances several of the subprocesses for sensation, perception, and mapping to action to improve decision-making skills,” the authors write.
“These findings begin to illuminate how video game playing alters the brain in order to improve task performance and their potential implications for increasing task-specific activity.”
Source Study: Science Direct — Video game players have improved decision-making abilities and enhanced brain activities – ScienceDirect