While video games are often maligned as a ‘complete waste of time’ and often linked to other issues such as addiction and social isolation – new findings are starting to indicate that gamers may actually benefit from the games that they’re playing. You can benefit in two ways: by earning money playing online games or develop your cognitive ability. Over the last few years different studies have begun to show how video games can actually help improve the cognitive ability of players – in more ways than one.
Strategic Thinking and Problem Solving
It is worth noting that in the current generation of games there are numerous games that require strategy, contain puzzles, or have some other element that will require the players to improve their ability to think. Outside of video games, certain conventional card games such as blackjack also encourage the same and require an understanding of probability and other concepts.
All these types of elements can encourage players to apply their mind and solve a problem in order to obtain the outcome they desire. That in itself will help to increase their ability to think strategically, and work their way through problems in various other situations.
Agile Decision Making
One way in which video games improve the ability of players to think is when it comes to agile decision making. In many strategy-oriented games, players are put into situations where they need to make split-second decisions on how to tackle various scenarios. Often these games come with a certain learning curve, and players are required to learn from their mistakes and improve their approach in order to win.
Because of the fact that players need to think on the fly while strategizing, their ability to be agile in their decision making improves. In research carried out on Starcraft players it was found that their cognitive flexibility increased after playing the game for a certain duration. Interestingly enough, the increase appeared proportional to the complexity of the game itself.
Efficient Information Perception and Processing
At the same time, a previous study into action games also noted similar results. The research showed that players of action games learned how to process information quickly to make fast and effective decisions – increasing their ability to efficiently perceive and then process information.
In the case of this study, it was noted that it was the speed of the game that encouraged these improvements more than anything else. While not altogether unexpected, it is an interesting contrast to the situation with strategy games – where complexity was identified as the key determinant.
At the end of the day, while video games may be beneficial and help to improve the thinking ability of players – moderation is still important. In the right doses, it is possible to obtain the benefits that playing video games can provide – while at the same time avoiding all the negative issues that are tied to it.
Perhaps someday games will even be used to help people improve their , or to learn particular skills. For now, at least the awareness that gaming can be beneficial should help remove some of the stigma surrounding it.