How Video Games improve our Brain

I’m into improving my brain through meditation, exercise, and nutrition. Now I found another great way to improve my brain, by playing video games. What? Yes! And a fun way it is. I’m sure fewer people would object to playing video games than to sit down and meditate, lol.

This Talk from Daphne Bavelier gives a great oversight to the changes in our brain that result from the concentration we put into games. Here shortly the main points she mentions:

  • Not only 90% of kids play games, also 70% of the heads of households and their mean age is 33 years.
  • A typical action shooter game like Call of Duty has been played for 68.000 years after just one month of the release. Think about the leverage of all that time.
  • Video games improve your vision. Players have sharper vision than non-players.
  • Players are better at resolving things in their vision because they train their brain for that ability through games. For example, they are better able to distinguish different levels of grey in fog. This ability can help to prevent accidents while driving in real life.
  • Gamers are faster and better at resolving conflicts in their vision. That ability depends on attention, so players have better attention than non-player.
  • Gamers are better at tracking things visually, another trait of attention.
  • Many changes occur in the brain due to playing games. But the main changes occur in the Parietal Lobe which is responsible for the orientation of attention. The Frontal Lobe whose task it is to sustain attention (this one you train very well through mindfulness meditation.) The Anterior Cingulate’s task is it to resolve conflicts in our attention. All three of these networks are much more efficient in people who play video games.
  • People that play a lot of action games are really good at attention switching.
  • Gamers are much better at an exercise called mental rotation after only 2 weeks and 10 hours of action games training. And this improvement is still there 5 months after having done the training.

Having this research in mind I’m waiting for my gaming PC parts with good conscience, cheers. Ah, and I’ll look if there are any good books on this topic of course.

Also published on Medium.