Can Video Games Predict Intelligence?

As we have learned over the course of this class, violent video games can lead to improvements in both cognition and reflex abilities. In November of 2017, ScienceDaily released an article stating that multiplayer online battle arena (MOBAs) games can be a significant predictor of intelligence, essentially acting as an IQ test. The researchers tested this by carrying out multiple studies to see a potential correlation between game skill level and intelligence. The first study found that those who performed better in one of two popular MOBA games (League of Legends and DOTA 2) also scored slightly better on the standard intelligence tests. This suggests that players better at MOBAs have higher levels of cognition and problem solving, and ultimately higher levels of intelligence. Next, the researchers examined if the same results would be found for players of first person shooter games (FPSs). In this second study, it was found that players’ performance in MOBAs and IQ act similarly as one ages. However, players of FPSs’ performance in game declined while IQ remained the same. They found this difference to be a result of game priority, as FPSs rely on speed and accuracy, while MOBAs rely on memory and strategic factors. This steady performance by MOBA players suggests these game are intellectually demanding, and this study would suggest that you can indeed measure intelligence through in-game performance.

After reading more about the topic, I came across the argument that performance in MOBAs is a better determinant of EQ rather than IQ. The Emotional Quotient Test, or EQ Test, measures an individuals ability to recognize their own emotions and those of others. This applies to many MOBAs, as players who are unable to forgive a teammate’s mistake tend to rage and perform worse. Therefore, players who can empathize with their teammates are more likely to have higher team chemistry and ultimately, win more games. I agree with this argument because the difference between MOBA performance and IQ was relatively small. Also, as a former League of Legend player, I have found much more success when I empathized with my teammates if they were struggling and tried focused on my own performance, compared to when I got mad at my teammates and let it it worsen my own performance. Below is a picture of the League of Legends map, Summoners Rift.


Both sides make very intriguing arguments, but I believe that these types of games are a better predictor of EQ than IQ, as I have personally experienced this. To end, do you think these games can predict IQ, EQ, or neither?


One thought on “Can Video Games Predict Intelligence?

  1. This is an interesting post! To answer your question, I think MOBAs can be seen as predictors of both, though I am not sure which– EQ or IQ– might matter more. MOBAs are strategy games, which require a lot of logical thinking, but they are also social games. They’re team sports, and require productive communication as well as empathy. The best performers would probably have higher measures of EQ as well as IQ.


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