Score! Video Gamers Might Learn Visual Tasks More Quickly

November 16, 2015

Content score  video gamers might learn visual tasks more quickly

Score! Video Gamers Might Learn Visual Tasks More Quickly

It has been known for quite some time that people who play video games can perform visual tasks better than their non gaming peers. In fact, researchers will often eliminate video gamers from consideration when studying visual task performance, because including them skews results. What is coming to light now is the fact that these students can also learn visual tasks at a faster rate. This evidence comes from a study that was performed by researchers at Brown University.

Pressing Start

The study in question took two groups of people. One group consisted of avid gamers while the other group consisted of individuals who were not regular video game players. Over a period of two days the groups were each given the task of completing several different visual learning tasks. The first tasks consisted of recognizing patterns on a computer screen and identifying if those patterns were running vertically or horizontally. Then, they were asked to identify, within a limited number of seconds where on the screen there was a deviation in the texture. Each group worked on the two tasks through out the first day, with tasks being performed in a random order. The purpose of this was to determine whether or not the theory that people would have difficulty learning to perform to similar visual tasks at the same time.

On the second day, both groups were asked to go through the same two tasks once again. This time, the researchers were looking for measurable signs of improvement in either groups ability to perform the task. What came to light was that the group of gamers improved their ability to perform both tasks. The other group, however only improved on the second task.

What is Learning Advantage?

There is still a lot to learn about the neural mechanisms, but this study does seem to indicate that video gamers have the ability to incorporate the learning of visual tasks more efficiently than others. One possible explanation for this is that years of intensive video game play has resulted in a retraining of the brains of video gamers to learn visual tasks faster than others. Another possibility is that people who happen to have that ability are simply more drawn to video gaming than the average person. In any case, more research is needed before any definitive conclusions can be reached. One must also note that the gamer group did not reflect any gender diversity.

The Conclusion

It is becoming more difficult to dismiss video game play as just a waste of time. As more studies like these prove the cognitive benefits of video gaming, individuals planning curriculum may wish to incorporate this knowledge into the work that they do. It could be that video games do have a role in improving the ability of students to develop and improve their visual processing skills.