A few decades back, playing video games was considered one of the biggest intellectually deteriorating activities. Just 10 years ago, parents would forbid their children to play all types of video games, particularly violent video games.
Luckily, leading psychologists have been working hard to remove the stain on video games, and the result is evident – video games are no longer looked down on. As a matter of fact, it has been proven that video games can actually improve a number of skills, both in adults and in children.
Today’s article delves into the findings of the American Psychological Association and shows why playing video games is not only harmless but in fact incredibly beneficial.
How Video Gaming Can Boost Your Skills
Violent Video Games Boost a Number of Cognitive Skills
Playing video games will no longer be deemed an activity for the intellectually lazy – researchers have proved that video games are actually incredibly healthy for your brain. It has been proven that video games boost a number of skills, including children’s learning.
A research conducted by the American Psychological Association shows that playing all kinds of games, including violent video games and casino games improves an array of cognitive skills. Researchers have found out that playing video games can improve skills, such as reasoning, perception, spatial navigation. Further, video games boost short and long-term memory, etc.
Violent video games, and especially shooter games improve players’ ability to think and navigate themselves in space. Further, those who play violent games are better able to think about objects in three dimensions. In comparison, people would normally attend special courses to improve these skills.
What professionals have concluded is that video games can be used for educational and developmental purposes. As you may know, spatial skills are vital in spheres like science, engineering and technology, as well as mathematics.
Having summarised some of the APA findings, let us now explore in depth the cognitive skills which can be improved by video gaming.
Video gaming improves problem-solving skills
Playing video games can improve problem-solving skills, according to a 2013 research. More importantly, however, playing role-playing games and the like can also improve school grades.
Creativity is another skill, which can be substantially improved by playing video games. Interestingly enough, the study has found that playing any kind of video game significantly enhances children’s creativity. In comparison, using various forms of technology with non-video gaming purposes does not show an increase in children’s creativity.
Video gaming increases positivity
According to experts, playing all kinds of video games, except for horror video games, improves the mood and helps with relaxation. Scientists have found that even playing simple mobile games like Angry Birds can make you feel better and become more positive.
But that is not all – video gaming can also make people more determined. As games progress, they tend to get more and more complicated, and of course, this means that players have to face a number of failures. Some video games get us used to overcoming difficulties to such an extent that whenever we face a challenge in real life, we are not scared of it. As we learn how to overcome game difficulties, we essentially become more determined and more likely to fight to achieve our goals.
Video gaming boosts reading skills
A 2013 Italian research has shown that playing video games can help develop reading skills, too. The research focused on two groups of children of 7 to 13 years of age. One group was asked to play a fast-paced game, whereas the other group indulged in a slow-paced game.
Then children were asked to read something aloud, and the group which played the fast-paced action game actually performed better than the group enjoying the slow-paced one.
Some video games substantially boost gray matter
German researchers have found out that the game Super Mario 64 actually changes gray matter. In 2013, German analysers asked 23 adults with average age of 25 years to play the game every day for about 30 minutes over a period of two months, and another group of adults was instructed not to play the game at all.
Amazingly, those who played Super Mario 64 had a noticeable increase in gray matter. Namely, gray matter in the cerebellum, the right prefrontal cortex, and the right hippocampus had increased the most – these sections of the brain control memory, strategic thinking and fine motor skills.
Evidently, the benefits of playing video games are endless. But it is not only video games which can improve cognitive skills. Amazingly, casino table games such as poker and blackjack can substantially improve concentration and short-term memory. On top of that, researches have shown that blackjack also improves math skills, as well.
Blackjack is a game of chance with elements of skill. Many people who are unfamiliar with its peculiarities falsely assume it is all about trying to beat the dealer with a higher total. But there is much more to the game than this. When you join a blackjack table, you utilize your short term memory as you play.
Short term memory is governed by the hippocampus. This section of the brain consolidates short term memories turning them into long term memories. Exercising your hippocampus through blackjack play helps you stave off the process of senility. In turn, this makes you less susceptible to diseases like Alzheimer’s that are associated with advancing age. This is so because playing this game efficiently requires the memorization of basic strategy, proper understanding of the odds, and knowing how every card affects your chances of winning a hand.
Last, but not least, playing card games at landbased casinos improves your social skills. While at the blackjack and poker tables, participants would verbally engage with each other. Social interaction also keeps the different sections of one’s brain active and in good shape.