On May 1st, 2015 we learned about

Action-based games can lead to bigger brains

Video games, it turns out, will not rot your brain. At least not if you play enough of them. Action game players of either amateur or expert skill levels, were studied with fMRI to look for differences in their brains. Previous research had shown that expert players exhibit better attention skills and eye-hand coordination, and this study was looking for how players’ brains were supporting those skills.

As with muscles, it seems that brains develop in response to how you use them. Expert players, playing action games for at least six years, were stretching their concentration and reactions to visual stimuli on a regular basis. Hitting this ‘virtual gym’ was paying off, as their brains had more gray matter and denser connectivity between in areas like the left insular cortex and central insular sulcus. The amateur players, like someone who only works out for a few weeks after their New Years resolution, didn’t show this kind of increase.

My kindergartner said: That she felt she was quite good at games like Where’s My Water,¬†and that maybe my skills at Osmos could put me in the expert category. However, even if I were actually an impressive Osmos player, I’m fairly certain that it lacks the speed of the games these players focused on in their competitions, as those usually favor titles like Call of Duty or Street Fighter. Still, I’d like to think I’ve earned a little more gray matter than the average Candy Crush addict.

Source: Video Gamers Have Better Connected Brains by Alex B. Berezow, RealClearScience Journal Club

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