Myth: Video games sharpen brain

September 16th, 2011 - 5:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 16 (IANS) That playing video games makes the brain smarter and improves concentration might be a myth fostered by a host of studies.

“Despite the hype, in reality, there is little solid evidence that games enhance cognition at all,” said Walter Boot, assistant professor in psychology at Florida State University who led the study.

Many of those studies compared the cognitive skills of frequent gamers to non-gamers and found gamers to be superior, the journal Frontiers in Psychology reports.

However, Boot with doctoral student Daniel Blakely and Daniel Simons from Illinois University points out that this does not necessarily mean that their game experience caused better perceptual and cognitive abilities.

It could be that individuals who have the abilities required to be successful gamers are simply drawn to gaming, according to a university statement.

Researchers looking for cognitive differences between expert and novice gamers often recruit research participants by circulating ads on college campuses seeking “expert” video game players.

That wording alone, Boot argues, “lets participants know how researchers expect them to perform on challenging, often game-like computer tests of cognition”.

“But we found no benefits of video game training,” concluded Boots.

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