Does playing high-action video games improve vision?

8 02 2007

Some people say playing video games improves rapid eye movements and helps people scan large areas to find objects of interest, but this new study suggests they may even improve vision.

A new study from the University of Rochester has found that playing high-action video games can actually be good for your vision. … People who played action-based video games such as “Unreal Tournament” for a few hours a week improved their visual acuity, or their ability to identify letters presented in clutter, by about 20 percent. In other words, it made them better able to ace tests on a standard eye chart.

Daphne Bavelier, professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the university and one of the researchers in the study, explained it this way :

When people play action games, they’re changing the brain’s pathway responsible for visual processing. These games push the human visual system to the limits, and the brain adapts to it. That learning carries over into other activities and possibly everyday life.

There’s also been studies that show video games can increase coordination and even IQ.  I’m certain that it improves hand-eye coordination, and many games do promote “original thinking”, which is necessary to keep the brain healthy.

In another article, researchers say video games pack a powerful psychological punch, that they may fulfill fundamental human needs.

Playing video games like Nintendo’s Wii, Sony’s PlayStation 3, or Microsoft’s Xbox 360 may fulfill fundamental human needs, say researchers who have studied the psychology of gaming. It turns out that besides being fun, video game playing might help participants feel more competent and in control.

Interesting…  I think there’s some truth to that.  I realize most non-gamers aren’t going to understand.  Some people think of video games as only for teenage boys who have no life.  But the average age of gamers is around 30 now, and many people play games online and in groups at houses or dorms.  It can actually lead to developing friendships.  And I think gaming does help in some way, whether it’s just an “escape” from reality for a few minutes or to challenge yourself to improve your skills.  (If you think of it abstractly, it’s not that different from working a crossword puzzle or playing Sudoku.)

There are now some occupational and recreational therapists who use video games to help their patients develop fine-motor skills, plus it serves as motivation.  I think that’s a good thing.

Perhaps non-gamers will start to see that gaming is no longer a “nerdy” activity.  There are a surprising number of adults who play video games, and it’s not just men.




3 responses

10 02 2007

I’m not much of a gamer. I guess I’m too busy doing other stuff like making comments on obscure blogs and stuff.

14 02 2007

What Fab is really trying to say is, “I don’t have the skills necessary to play video games and I am insanely jealous.”

It’s OK Fab, you are still loved…


14 02 2007
Thomas Wayne

Perhaps Fab is scared that his wife might beat him at video games… I’ve heard that some guys get traumatized by such things…  😮

—–===== I’ve got skills… I’ve got game… =====—–

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