Can Video Games Improve Your Concentration?

Over decades, the industry of video games has become extremely valuable and supermassive. New individuals are joining the fun every second, and we even witnessed the creation of some country’s national teams. As Neal Taparia – a serial entrepreneur who runs Solitaired – points out, innumerable YouTubers discuss video games nonstop, and video game designer is a highly wanted profession.

Certain people spend a lot of time with their eyes locked to their screens and their hands pinned to the keyboard, while others only use their game console once or twice a week. Either way, many people assume that playing video games has only negative consequences. While such fears are understandable, the reality is that playing video games may also be beneficial to the gamer, and there are scientific studies behind that claim.

Daphne Bavelier of the University of Geneva

Bavelier has studied the brain’s ability to adapt and learn in response to alterations in the subject’s surroundings, which brought him the Klaus J Jacobs prize for 2019 and the CHF1 million ($1 million) research prize. Young people who played action video games were shown to be superior at multitasking and detecting new details quicker.

The discovery is anticipated to aid youngsters in adapting to the quickly changing digital environment, as well as workers who need to prequalify for the labor market.

Bavelier, a Swiss neuroscientist, will use the award money to investigate the possible harmful consequences of exposing adolescents to action video games.

Weiyi Ma of the University of Arkansas

Weiyi Ma, an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas School of Human Environmental Sciences, worked with researchers from China’s Ministry of Education’s Laboratory for NeuroInformation to establish the correlation between playing video games and possible concentration and attention improvement.

Scientists have shown that even one hour of playing a video game can improve our concentration. According to the researchers, participants who had completed one hour playing the League of Legends video game showed alterations in brain function. They also had higher results on tests of visual selective processing. Their research was released in the Frontiers in Human Neuroscience publication.

The authors enlisted 29 male students to take part in the survey. One group had played action video games for at least two years, whereas the other had played them for less than six months. The “masters,” or those with the most expertise, were in the top 7% of League of Legends users. The “non-experts,” on the other hand, were placed in the lowest 11%. The study examined the gamers’ “visual selective attention” pre and post LoL playing. Visual selective attention represents the brain’s capacity to concentrate while ignoring less important information. The researchers used a test in which squares were lit on different screen sections to evaluate visual selective attention.

They discovered that, after playing the game, non-experts’ brain function rose to the point where it was a match for the masters’ level of brain activity.

Even though the data show that subjects’ brain activity and visual selective attention ratings increased after playing LoL for just one hour, the scientists caution that their results do not indicate how long these benefits could remain. As a result, they argue that additional research is required. It’s also worth mentioning that because this study involved such a small number of people — only 29 guys — the results should be taken with precaution.

Older Findings That Support Thesis

Action video games like Halo and Call of Duty have also been shown to boost visual attention in prior researches.

According to a 2010 evaluation of the existing studies, playing video games can help improve attention in military training and education.

The review, conducted by Dr. Daphne Bavelier of the University of Rochester, looked at the effect video games have on visual attention. As previously said, that’s the process that lets us pick essential visual information while suppressing irrelevant visual data in order to function in a world of unlimited visual data.

A 2017 research from the University of York discovered a correlation between video games and high IQs. Specifically, it analyzes young individuals who excel in a particular type of video game – multiplayer online battle arenas (MOBAs) like League of Legends and DOTA. This study reports that gamers with excellent video game skills have higher IQ scores.

A recent Harvard study explains that playing games – both online and offline – can boost concentration, memory, and focus, especially as we become older. “They may aid with developing specific cognitive abilities and can play an essential part in preserving general brain health,” says Dr. Julie Brody-Magid. She notes that games cannot lessen the risk of illnesses like dementia.

Video Games Could Help Dyslexic Kids Sharpen Their Reading Skills

In 2013, Sandro Franceschini and his associates freely allocated children with dyslexia to play action or non-action video games. Each sample of children participated in nine 80-minute gaming rounds, and their reading capabilities were checked before and after instructions.

The results were astounding. The children who had played action games enhanced their speech rate without sacrificing consistency. Their improvements were greater than the level of spontaneous, organic progress that children typically achieve in a year. The youngsters also performed better on visual attention tests.

As a result, research implies that action video games can assist dyslexic children in improving their reading skills by honing their visual attention abilities and enhancing their concentration. However, this does not guarantee that action games are helpful for all types of attention.

This kind of proactive attention appears to be critical for learning and executing instructions in school, and it’s something that many die-hard gamers seem to struggle with.

Summary

As stated in these findings, playing video games for a short amount of time might affect brain activity and, more crucially, enhance attention abilities. Nevertheless, they all acknowledge that further study is needed to understand better these impacts, such as how long they last, and note that the line between productive and addicting can be thin sometimes, so make sure to keep that in mind.