Education

Can Playing Videogames Be Beneficial for Students?

I found it hard to believe that video games can have such a positive effect on learning, when I first read about it in Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To. After all, it goes against decades of mom-wisdom.

But I checked it out and found out there is ample research to back up the positive effects of action video games on the brain. Those who play action video games outperform non-gamers in a wide variety of mental tasks, including the ability to pay attention to visual cues in spite of distractions, to multitask, to make better probabilistic inferences from sensory evidence, to detect contrasts, to perform visual searches, and to make decisions. Action video games may even enhance short-term visual memory.

Action video game play benefits performance in an array of sensory, perceptual, and attentional tasks that go well beyond the specifics of game play, according to researchers from the Department of Brain and cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester.

If you don’t already play video games, don’t panic – it is never too late to start. Most of the studies show that non-gamers can achieve the same benefits of action video games by playing for modest amounts of time. For example, as little as 5 hours of playing an action video game had a beneficial effect on strategies for dividing attention between two possible target locations.

Although I have not seen any studies specifically showing that playing video games improves your SAT score, it is not hard to imagine how an improved ability to focus attention and filter out distractors could translate into points. Even more intriguing is the fact that gamers have an enhanced ability to make faster, more accurate decisions based on limited evidence.

This type of learning may be a consequence of the nature of action video game training. Dissimilar to standard learning paradigms that usually have a highly specific solution, there is no such specific solution in action video games because situations are rarely, if ever, repeated. Thus, the only characteristics that can be learned are how to rapidly and accurately learn the statistics on the fly and how to accumulate this evidence more efficiently, state researchers C. Shawn Green, Alexander Pouget, and Daphne Bavelier in Improved Probabilistic Inference as a General Learning Mechanism With Action Video Games.

So this summer you may want to go to Gamestop, get yourself a suitable study guide (remember, only the high-action games produce the benefits – something along the lines of Call of Duty: Black Ops), and get to work. Another product that you need to study well is an electric pencil sharpener. By keeping your pencils fully-sharpened, you can continue writing notes easily without worrying about your notes getting messy. Check out homeandofficesupplies.net to find out additional guides that can help you study for your LSAT.

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