But Eline discovers the scientific benefits of gaming, and how a little extra play can boost your brain power, sense of direction and even your mental health.
Sleep deprivation, isolation, bankruptcy, and even death.
These are just some of the reported side effects of gaming.
But what if I told you that…?
How does gaming develop the brain?
What benefits can you get from pushing those buttons?
There are about 66 million people in the UK,
and about 32 million are gamers.
That’s almost half of us.
Meanwhile, the average young person racks up 10,000 hours playing
video games by the age of 21 –
only slightly less than the time they spend in secondary school.
For some people, these are terrifying statistics because video
games represent a world of violent images and aggressive emotions.
But while scientists are still unsure about the negative impacts
of gaming, there is evidence that hours playing pixels can benefit you
in lots of different ways.
With some research showing that gamers can multitask better…
..make better decisions…
..and pay closer attention to detail.
Are you a gamer?
No. No. Yes. Yeah.
I love games – have done for a long, long time.
This game is called the Stroop Test,
invented by John Ridley Stroop in 1935.
To win, you have to read out the colour of the word –
not the word itself – as quickly as possible.
Sounds easy, right?
Green…purple. SHE CHUCKLES NERVOUSLY
Lightning round? Oh, my God.
Should I keep going?
Blue, white, green, brown.
Orange. Purple. Red?
Purple. Blue. Purple. Green.
Green. Blue. Black.
Blue, orange, green, black, white!
Game over, that’s red!
That was crazy!
It was amazing.
That was too hard. It’s confusing as heck.
I just was in the zone. Maybe that’s what gaming does –
It just puts you in the zone and you keep going.
So, it turns out it’s actually really hard. But why?
The Stroop Test measures selective attention.
That means you have to focus on just the colour that the word is,
not the colour the word says, even if they don’t match.
The better your attention, the faster you can resolve the mismatch.
According to a study by Dr Daphne Bavelier at
the University of Rochester, gamers are good at this because they get
a lot of practice in action games.
If the player misses a grenade being thrown at them because they’re
focused on something else, this would lead to a player’s death.
On top of this, playing video games has been shown to improve
other skills, as well, including…
And there’s also evidence that playing video games can increase
the size and efficiency of certain brain regions,
like the right hippocampus,
which is thought to help us navigate the world around us.
But games don’t just boost your brain – they can also help you
manage a variety of problems and health conditions.
Emily Mitchell won a Bafta for her game, Fractured Minds,
which explores what it’s like to live with mental health issues.
I wanted to make a game that actually means something,
and something that people can relate to, but in their own way.
So for me, the game is about anxiety.
But for another person, it could be about depression,
or whichever mental health issue.
Game design has come so far that gaming is now used sometimes
for the treatment of autism, PTSD, anxiety and addictions.
There you have it – nobody’s saying,
“Move to the basement and game for 12 hours a day”.
But moderate gaming can be beneficial to you in a variety
of surprising ways.
What’s your take? Comment below or write a response and submit to us your own point of view or reaction here at the red box, below, which links to our submissions portal.
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