Playing video games enhances decision-making abilities in time-sensitive situations

Playing video games enhances decision-making abilities in time-sensitive incidents and leads to improved brain activity, according to the findings of a new study. Although video games have a reputation for being sedentary hobbies, they may be quite engaging for players’ brains due to their sensory-rich and intellectually stimulating nature.

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While playing video games, you must be able to make quick decisions and pay attention to details.

“The overwhelming majority of our youth play video games for more than three hours per week, but the beneficial effects on decision-making abilities and the brain are unknown,” said Mukesh Dhamala, an associate professor in Georgia State’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and the university’s Neuroscience Institute.

Previous studies have connected video game play to improvements in working memory, attention, task switching, spatial resolution, and other areas.

Playing video games enhances decision-making abilities

The goal of this study is to comprehend the impact that playing video games has on the brain. There were 47 participants in the study. To qualify as a video game player, a participant had to log 5 hours or more of gaming time each week; anyone who played less was labeled as a non-player.

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Based on the games they played, Jordan and Dhamala divided video game players into four categories: first-person shooters; real-time strategy; multiplayer online battle arenas; and battle royale. A modified left-right moving dots task was performed by participants during an fMRI scan.

The Outcome

The findings showed that individuals who played video games exhibited different brain and behavioral reactions to decisions than those who did not. Players of video games had faster response times and more accurate judgments.

There were differences in the activation of brain areas involved in sensorimotor and cognitive processing between video game players and non-players, with video game players exhibiting higher levels of signal change. The findings showed  that playing video games may strengthen a number of the sub-processes for feeling, perception and mapping to action to enhance decision-making abilities.

These results “revealed how playing video games changes the brain to enhance task performance and its potential implications for enhancing task-specific activity.”

The gamers performed higher on both measures; therefore, there was no trade-off between response time and accuracy. The scientists concluded that playing video games is a good option for cognitive training with regard to decision-making because there is no speed-accuracy trade-off.

Related: Playing games does not harm mental health, unless gamers ‘have to play’ instead of ‘want to play’ 

Limitation

This study made strides toward a deeper understanding of how video games alter brain function. Despite this, there are some limitations to be aware of. One limitation is that this study was not longitudinal, and cognitive differences could be due to other factors than video game playing.

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