Video Gamers Learn Visual-Based Tasks More Quickly

Playing video games provides some bonus points for the real world. In a recent study, researchers found gamers were better able to adapt and learn visual tasks.

Video games have some great benefits beyond entertainment. Jane McGonigal, author of Reality is Broken, has been touting their influential power for years in how engaging in a powerful, interactive story can incite change in our own behavior. A recent study has gone further, finding that gamers get cognitive bonus points in their ability to learn through visual tasks.


The study has significance within the scientific community, which one of the researchers, Yuka Sasaki, elaborated on in a press release:

"When we study perceptual learning we usually exclude people who have tons of video game playing time because they seem to have different visual processing. They are quicker and more accurate."

The researchers documented their study in the publication PLoS ONE, where they pitted nine gamers against nine non-gamers in a battle of visual task learning. In one test, participants were given a “texture” on a screen that consisted of horizontal or vertical lines, but within that texture, there would be an anomaly. The participants' jobs would be to pick out the discrepancy as quickly as possible.

Previous studies on this visual test explored how people could improve, and previous researchers found that so long as they weren't distracted by training for a secondary task, they could improve on the first task. So, the question was whether video gamers could adapt to two tasks better than non-gamers.

Over the course of the two-day study, the researchers switched between using horizontal and vertical lines as the main texture in the tests.

Science Daily wrote about the study:

“The first day the subjects trained on each of the two tasks (in a randomized order). The next day they did each again (and again in a randomized order) so the researchers could assess whether they improved. To improve, a person had to reduce the milliseconds of time it took to discriminate the textures at a given level of accuracy.”

The gamers were able to improve on their performance in both tasks, while the non-gamers only improved on the second one they were trained on. Indeed, as in previous studies, learning the second task interfered with their ability to learn the first. Though, the researchers reported a slight lag in the improvement in one visual task over the other. Gamers' speed and accuracy improved by about 15 percent on their second task and about 11 percent on their first. But the gap wasn't as significant as the non-gamers who improved on the second task by 15 percent and 5 percent on their first.

The researchers wrote:

"It may be possible that the vast amount of visual training frequent gamers receive over the years could help contribute to honing consolidation mechanisms in the brain, especially for visually developed skills."

Read more at Science Daily.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Keep reading Show less

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

(VL.ru)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
Keep reading Show less

Water may be an inevitable result of the process that forms rocky planets

New research identifies an unexpected source for some of earth's water.

Surprising Science
  • A lot of Earth's water is asteroidal in origin, but some of it may come from dissolved solar nebula gas.
  • Our planet hides majority of its water inside: two oceans in the mantle and 4–5 in the core.
  • New reason to suspect that water is abundant throughout the universe.
Keep reading Show less