WSJ: When gaming is good for you

This article in the Wall Street Journal discusses the growing evidence that gaming improves creativity, decision-making and perception. The article is more focused on video-games, but there are many parallels to other forms of gaming.

The gaming seemed to be the key, not the device used:

In contrast, using cellphones, the Internet, or computers for other purposes had no effect on creativity, they said.

Unfortunately for the crowd hoping some of these study’s would provide evidence to make further restrictions, if not banning outright of violent video games, one study found:

The violent action games that often worry parents most had the strongest beneficial effect on the brain. “These are not the games you would think are mind-enhancing,”

another found:

“Much to my surprise, it didn’t matter whether you were playing aggressive games or sport games, not a bit,” said psychologist Linda Jackson, who led the federally funded study of 491 boys and girls at 20 Michigan schools.

Even so, researchers have yet to create educational software as engaging as most action games. Without such intense involvement, neural circuits won’t change, they believe. “It happens that all the games that have the good learning effect happen to be violent. We don’t know whether the violence is important or not,” said Dr. Bavelier. “We hope not.”

Good to see the researchers bring no biases into the research 😉

It would be interesting to see if there are parallels to the apparent “visceral” imprinting effect of video-game violence in manual games – my guess is a connection between “compelling narrative” in manual games to “visceral violence” in video games?

About Paul Vebber

"If you read about something, you have learned about it. If you can teach something, you have mastered it. Designing a useful game about something however, requires developing a deep understanding of how it relates to other things."
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