We are aware that this article may be controversial because we want to introduce you to the main benefits of video games. These can bring us some benefits at the cognitive and even social level. Of course, the key is not to abuse them and make rational and moderate use of them. This must be clear from the beginning.
If a person spends several hours a day playing it, it is clear that they will not bring him any benefits. On the contrary, it will become bad for their academic, work or social performance, and will undermine their development. We insist again that these can bring us benefits through moderate and rational use. In these cases, less is more.
So why is it talking about the negative effects of them? Because they are so popular, everyone has an opinion, but the denials often lack a scientific basis, as one of the project’s researchers suggests.
Gamers, kids or adults, defend that they are not a waste of time. On the contrary, since apart from serving to enjoy some minutes of fun, it reduces the level of stress and boredom.
They can also be a social activity, as some of them are not necessarily played alone. Today, technology connects us more and more, and with advances in telecommunications, it can also be socialized through different ones. Most offer the possibility to play online with people from different parts of the world or to organize real-life meetings with them and in that way widen their circle of friends and prejudices against people from other parts of the world are disappearing. Also, you can improve by playing with pros and you can find more information at Legionfarm.
Similarly, when they are not online with other people from other parts of the world, they can invite friends to play a couple of games and have a good time, fostering healthy competition and strengthening friendship ties. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits.
Increased attention span
A significant improvement in attention span has been observed in people playing video games. It especially refers to selective and sustained attention. Selective one is a type of attention that allows us to concentrate on a certain thing without being disturbed by external factors, while sustained attention serves that we can maintain attention for a long time. In people who play a lot , the brain works much more efficiently.
Greater ability to interpret maps
Another field where a significant difference was noticed between gamers and those who are not. Gamers can read maps much better, orient themselves better in space or estimate the distance between two objects in their head. These visuospatial skills are significantly developed by playing.
Faster decision making
This concerns working memory. This type of memory is very important for performing any more complex tasks or several at once. The two parts of the brain that are in charge of working memory are specially activated in gamers. It has also been proven to improve the speed of information processing. This is very useful, because wherever you work nowadays, multitasking is necessary.
They are a learning tool
One of the current trends in education is “Gamification”. It consists of learning through playing and is increasingly used in schools and other educational institutions around the world. There are various games that help with learning, both for children and adults. Some of the most popular are Arcademics, Classcraft.com, BluePlanettales, Elemental Dear Watson, etc.
Action video games can improve our predictive models and therefore could translate into greater learning capacity. When our brain detects that a certain activity is going to be carried out, be it a soccer or a cooking recipe, it searches among models to prepare us and facilitate the task. Your brain uses better, faster and more accurate prediction models necessary for that activity.
Playing brain-challenging video games for at least two hours a week can slow down brain aging, associated with the brain’s natural age. A University of Iowa study involving 681 people over the age of 50 revealed that playing 10 hours of a specialized video game helped reduce brain wear by an equivalent of up to 7 years in some cases.
By challenging the brain to various tasks, it exercises like the body’s muscles, helping to reduce wear and tear and other mental illnesses associated with aging.
Benefits in neurodegenerative diseases
They also appear to be positive in stimulating patients with Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases, according to research from the Ad Gaming project led by the Association of relatives of Alzheimer’s patients in Valencia. The “serious games” used to stimulate cognitive abilities in people with Alzheimer’s “may have potential benefits, especially for those with mild and moderate symptoms.
The objective is to create a platform that contains a compilation of games for adults, classified in different areas, so that caregivers have the knowledge of how to work each one of them to slow down the deterioration of people with Alzheimer’s.
The project also aims to equip people with Alzheimer’s with technological and digital skills and help their technology literacy, that of their families and caregivers, through the use of training games.
The digital platform, created by the Institute of Biomechanics, will be completely free and will collect teaching materials to work, through play, on cognitive stimulation from different brain areas such as memory, orientation, attention, perception, language, calculation.
How the brain changes?
These changes in cognitive functions occur because the human brain is not inalterable, that is, it has what is known as brain plasticity, which is defined as the ability to change its structural and functional organization in response to the development, experience, changes in the environment and even injury and damage.
Brain modifications can, therefore, be functional or structural. The former are more immediate and the structural ones are appreciated over a longer period of time.
These are some of the brain regions whose function and structure changes and the type of tasks in which they are involved:
- Frontoparietal network. It is activated in tasks with a high demand for attention.
- Anterior cingulate cortex, involved in selective and divided attention.
- The ventromedial prefrontal cortex, for the processing of information attending to stimuli that are relevant to achieving a goal.
- Entorhinal cortex for spatial orientation.
- Right hippocampus, region involved in the mental representation of objects, the mental manipulation of objects, spatial orientation, and spatial memory.
- Occipito-parietal network, which controls visuomotor performance.
- The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which contributes to improving executive functions and performing tasks that require a lot of attention.
- Orbitofrontal cortex for working memory.
From everything you’ve read here, it’s clear to you that moderately playing video games brings many benefits, which haven’t been known for many years. And gaming was demonized.