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Another Reason To Play Action Video Games: It's Good For Your Brain, Says Study

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Video games have been criticized for promoting violence and encouraging behavior of self-isolation but findings of a new study show that playing certain types of video games also has its benefits.

Researchers of a new study said that playing action-packed video games can be good for the brain. Playing controversial 'shoot 'em up' video games such as Call of Duty, Halo and Destiny may even help gamers solve real-world problems.

In a new study, researchers found that games that have complex 3D settings, feature quick-moving targets that appear in and out of the gamer's view, involve large amounts of clutter and which require the gamers to make fast and accurate decision as well as switch between varying levels of and attention, can have positive impact on cognition. Games with these features are known as action video games.

The study, which was published in the Journal Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences even claimed that the effects of such video games are even better when compared with brain games that were designed to improve cognitive function.

Study researcher C. Shawn Green, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said that action video games have been associated with improving brain processing, attention skills and cognitive function but brain games often only feature a few of the qualities of the video games that are associated with cognitive improvement.

"Playing action video games has been linked with myriad enhancements in cognitive function, from low-level vision through high-level cognitive abilities, while playing many other types of games fails to produce equivalent impact on perception and cognition." Green and study co-author Aaron Seitz, from the University of California-Riverside, wrote.

The researchers likewise said that besides their impact on cognitive function, video games can also affect other aspects of behavior such as social function which can either have positive or negative effect depending on the game's content.

"Modern video games have evolved into sophisticated experiences that instantiate many principles known by psychologists, neuroscientists, and educators to be fundamental to altering behavior, producing learning, and promoting brain plasticity," Seitz said.

The researcher said that video games primarily involve active forms of learning, which is more effective compared with passive learning.

An earlier research suggests that video games can be beneficial for people with dyslexia. Dyslexics who have had sessions of playing action-packed games exhibited improved reading comprehension.

Photo: Joshua Livingston | Flickr

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