A study by the Queen Mary University in London has uncovered some interesting news about the role of strategy video games in the development of cognitive flexibility. Apparently, playing strategy games improves this area of intelligence.
Cognitive flexibility is the ability of someone to go from one task to another quickly and without confusion. Long held to be a hard to train aspect of intelligence and a cornerstone of practical genius, this aspect of the human intellect has been studied at great length. However, it was a study into the psychological effect of video gaming that left a more profound conclusion – that this skill is trainable and that there is already a valid method of doing so, by playing Starcraft or league boosting.
Yes, video games are good for the brain
The study in question was conducted by Dr Brian Glass and centered on the effects of video gaming for forty hours over six to eight weeks. The games to be played were the Sims and Starcraft, the intention being to measure psychological profiles before and after the spell of gaming to detect any difference in the test subjects’ mental abilities.
Similar studies held by the University of Queensland (which has since been discredited widely) have shown that aggressive games can lead to increasingly aggressive or emotionally unstable behavior, especially in young men. Dr Brian’s team however found that strategy games like Starcraft help train mental agility to the point that in just forty hours over eight weeks there is a noticeable increase in mental agility, termed cognitive flexibility.
A difficult video game challenges the brain and keeps it alive
An interesting fact was that the greater the difficulty or complexity of the game being played the greater the benefit to the subject’s cognitive flexibility, with the greatest gains being in subjects who played the most difficult and complicated versions of the game. This seems to follow the theory of neurological plasticity, which outlines that an individual’s abilities are trained through the expansion of neurological pathways in the brain. These pathways are strengthened through continual use.
Dr Brian Glass was uncertain whether the gains were permanent and would like to continue the study or conduct further studies to access the ability for his research to be applied to early warning and treatment for development and mental conditions such as Dyslexia.
It’s unclear whether any positive aspects could be derived from playing the Sims whose sample did not receive the benefit to cognitive flexibility. What’s perhaps most interesting is that this is just one recent study of several, including the university of Rochester’s study on creativity and gamers, which seems to point out that the traditional view of video games as having a violent and degenerative effect upon the gamer is wrong, or at least not as cut and dry as previously thought.
Games can be utilized, they can be tools to educate, inform and train individuals, now all that’s needed is do discover the correct methods and limitations on their ability to train and educate young and old minds alike. If a game can be used to train cognitive flexibility then why are we not using it to help people learn new languages? What can and what can’t we teach or discover through video games?
The mere concept that video games are good for the brain is no longer just a concept. Various studies have been performed on the matter, and from what we’re seeing it looks like video games will soon be widely used to boost cognitive function to keep the brain active and properly functioning.
Author Bio: Christopher Austin is the writer to this article. His aim is to provide guidance and complete details to the readers by reviewing fresh gadgets that could suit different class of people. Also he loves to play free online games at Army Games 365.