AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Videogames aren’t that bad for your brain after all

An exciting new study at the University of Rochester, has given way to a new theory regarding the benefits of playing video games on the brain. According to brain professor Daphne Bavelier, “…playing action video games can foster better templates in our brains. The better the template, the better the performance.” To test her theory, Bavelier compared perceptual learning skills of individuals playing action video games such as Call of Duty for 50 hours and others who played non action video games like Sims in pattern discrimination tasks. Her research revealed that those who played action video games were far quicker at completing these tasks than non action game players, leading Bavelier to conclude that the action game players’ better performance is a direct result of their more developed brain templates.  When tested again a year later, the action gamers’ performance still succeeded other individuals, suggesting that video games are actually healthy for the brain and can make people better learners. While Bavelier’s results exemplify that more action packed games produce this effect, Bavelier continues to conduct research to determine which characteristics in video games are key to improving a players skills.

So, what do you think about this research and its implications? Should parents encourage their kids to play more video games?

"Tex playing video games" by R Pollard

“Tex playing video games” by R Pollard

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  1. blevans1

    I have always heard that video games are so bad for your brain so its really cool to hear that they may actually help with brain development. It makes sense that kids who play action games would have more development because it takes a lot of coordination and good reflexes to play those types of games. Personally, I can’t play video games if my life depended on it. However, there definitely are some down sides to playing video games, especially excessively. Here is an article showing some of the down sides of excessive video game playing:

  2. sgagocytosis

    This is an interesting article and new view on video games!! I’ve always thought that video games are not always good because younger kids don’t get enough outdoor exercise. When kids don’t get enough exercise, they grow overweight. Playing a lot of video games can also lead kids to have bad habits and repeat what they see going on in the video games. These effects are not good for growing children but it’s interesting to read that action video games improve learning skills. Here’s another article proving that video games do have some benefits

  3. pintocytosis

    Interesting article kation! After hearing time and time again that video games rot the brain, it is nice to hear a positive perspective on them. I had never before thought of the difference between action games versus non-action games and how the benefits reaped could be completely different. I believe the hand-eye coordination needed to play more action-type games rather than a point-and-click type of game such as the sims would produce quicker reflexes and reaction time, which agrees with the research explained in the article. I think the article is making a stand for these types of games and that there are benefits to them, however I believe a healthy balance between playing and getting some fresh air should be striven for when dealing with video games.
    Another article suggesting possible benefits of video games can be found in this article.

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