Most of the research I have seen on how violent games are influencing children has only shown negative effects. However, Daphne Bavelier described during a TED talk (in 2012) that these action packed shooter games may actually have positive effects on the brain, when played in small doses. She first proves the commonly accepted statement – that high exposure to screens makes eyesight worse – to be incorrect. She found that those who played high action games actually had reasonably better eyesight than those who do not play these games. She also disproves the idea that – games lead to attention problems and greater distractibility. To test this, she gave stroop tests to both gamers and non-gamers. A stroop effect test is a common test in psychology in which the participants reaction time is measured. The task asks them to the name the color that fills the word rather than the color it spells (eg. blue written in red). She found that high action gamers were quicker to complete this test than non-gamers. An example of this test is below:
Lastly, she compares brain images of gamers to that of non-gamers, and found that there are three areas of the brain act differently. Each of these networks are responsible for processing attention, and each was more active and functioning more effectively in the brain of gamers. I found all of this to be very interesting, as she solidly provides many contrary arguments to what is currently believed about video games, especially violent ones. I, myself, play these kinds of video games regularly often, and it is making me feel somewhat accomplished. I chose to play these games for many reasons, such as to play with my friends, better game quality, and high action. It’s neat to realize that there may be hidden benefits to playing these games, as negative connections are usually made between health and violent games.
To conclude, I will end with the question – Are there any other kinds of hidden health benefits that video games could provide?