Sunday, February 12, 2006

Video Games Make You Smarter Too?

From a recent Globe and Mail article:
A new study of 100 university undergraduates in Toronto has found that video gamers consistently outperform their non-playing peers in a series of tricky mental tests. If they also happened to be bilingual, they were unbeatable.

"The people who were video game players were better and faster performers," said psychologist Ellen Bialystok, a research professor at York University. "Those who were bilingual and video game addicts scored best -- particularly at the most difficult tasks."

The York study, which tested subjects' responses to various misleading visual cues, is to be published next month in the Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology. Three other studies published in the past two years have also concluded that action video games can lead to mental gains involving visual skills and short-term memory.
So videogames can make you smarter as well as - as we all know - more physically fit. Cool! Where was this knowledge when I was growing up? That's it; I must be officially "old". I have an irresistible urge to say "the kids these days have it easy! Why, when I was in grade school they thought video games were a waste of time..."

So let me get this straight: Dance Dance Revolution is part of physical education in the schools, adults are buying Nintendo DS to run brain training software, and the media claims videogames make you smart. It's not a bad world to live in. I think I'll keep it.

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