Video game players like to think that their hobby has benefits beyond entertainment –that even though they appear to be sitting and staring at a screen, they’re actually fine tuning reflexes, developing problem-solving abilities, and improving visual acuity.
It’s a compelling idea, and it has some science behind it. Over the past ten years, a number of studies have shown that video game players often outperform non-gamers on measures of perception and cognition, and that video game practice can enhance those abilities.
But a new study suggests the jury is still out on video games. In a paper recently published as Do Action Video Games Improve Perception and Cognition? in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, psychologists Walter R. Boot, Daniel P. Blakely and Daniel J. Simons suggest that methodological problems call earlier studies into question, and leave the relationship between games and cognition unclear.
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