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Advantage for Video Gamers

By Deborah Williams

While we are loath to admit it, another study suggests a benefit of playing video games.  A recent report on The Science Daily website explains that researchers from Brown University found that gamers who play a lot are likely to be “experts” of visual processing.   Associate professor (research) of cognitive, linguistic and psychological science, Yuka Sasaki, explains, “When we study perceptual learning we usually exclude people who have tons of video game playing time because they seem to have different visual processing. They are quicker and more accurate.”

The researchers compared two groups:  frequent players and non-gamers.  The researchers trained their subjects to complete two tasks on the first day.  They trained them on the second task—albeit similar—soon after the first one.  The next day, the subjects were assessed again to see if their performance times had improved.  The gamers “…improved their combination of speed and accuracy by about 15 percent on their second task and about 11 percent on their first task. Non-gamers produced the same average 15 percent improvement on their second task, but they actually got a bit worse on the first task they learned, by about 5 percent.”

Sasaki asserts that while the reasons for this outcome are unknown, this study does suggest “that gamers may have a more efficient process for hardwiring their visual task learning than non-gamers.”

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