Science Undecided on Whether Action Video Games Augment Our Ability to Learn
Researchers have long understood that playing action-packed video games can boost one's cognitive and perceptual abilities. A new study claims to have found the reason: These types of video games improve one's ability to learn new tasks. The problem is that a conflicting study claims the exact opposite.
It's no secret that the science community is fascinated by video games. Over the past few decades, large sections of society beings have taken up this new hobby that can't be compared to anything else in history. Researchers quickly picked up that extended gameplay has the ability change one's cognitive abilities, often for the better. William Herkewitz of Popular Mechanics explains:
"Over the past decade, study after study has shown that fast-paced video games bequeath a shocking range of small but measurable cognitive and perceptual benefits to gamers."
The authors of those studies observed marked improvement among their subjects yet could never identify why. One new study claims to have found the answer:
"Today, in a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, [Princeton University psychologist Vikranth] Bejjanki and his colleagues have claimed to identify the source of these mental upgrades for the first time. 'Action video games, to put it simply, seem to enhance your ability to learn how to learn,' Bejjanki says."
Herkewitz' piece offers an in-depth explanation of the study, so go ahead and read it (linked below) if you want the gory details. The basic summary is that Bejjanki' subjects who played 50 hours of video games showed a slight improvement in their ability to pick up new tasks. The problem with these findings is that they're contradicted by another study mentioned in Herkewitz' piece:
"But Walter Boot, a psychologist who studies action video games at Florida State University, says the story is likely more complicated than Bejjanki's study might suggest. Boot points to another recent study, this one in The Journal of Experimental Psychology, in which the authors tested the same theory as Bejjanki's team but came to the exact opposite conclusion. The title of their paper says it all: 'Action Video Games Do Not Improve the Speed of Information Processing in Simple Perceptual Tasks.'"
So the jury is still out on on this one. Take a look at each of the studies and let us know what you think.
Read more at Popular Mechanics
Photo credit: Sanzhar Murzin / Shutterstock
Could this be the long-awaited solution to economic inequality?
Under capitalism, the argument goes, it's every man for himself. Through the relentless pursuit of self-interest, everyone benefits, as if an invisible hand were guiding each of us toward the common good. Everyone should accordingly try to get as much as they can, not only for their goods but also for their labour. Whatever the market price is is, in turn, what the buyer should pay. Just like the idea that there should be a minimum wage, the idea that there should be a maximum wage seems to undermine the very freedom that the free market is supposed to guarantee.
Humans evolved to live in the cold through a number of environmental and genetic factors.
- According to some relatively new research, many of our early human cousins preceded Homo sapien migrations north by hundreds of thousands or even millions of years.
- Cross-breeding with other ancient hominids gave some subsets of human population the genes to contend and thrive in colder and harsher climates.
- Behavioral and dietary changes also helped humans adapt to cold climates.
It's unlikely that there's anything on the planet that is worth the cost of shipping it back
- In the second season of National Geographic Channel's MARS (premiering tonight, 11/12/18,) privatized miners on the red planet clash with a colony of international scientists
- Privatized mining on both Mars and the Moon is likely to occur in the next century
- The cost of returning mined materials from Space to the Earth will probably be too high to create a self-sustaining industry, but the resources may have other uses at their origin points
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.