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Tuesday, 14 September 2010 09:36

Gamers have good brains

Written by Nick Farell
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Shoot-em-ups can make fast decision makers
Boffins at the University of Rochester have worked out that first-person shooter players are better at making fast, accurate decisions based on evidence extracted from their surroundings. They have also discovered that when those who don't normally play action video games improved their inference skills after being forced to play just 50 hours.

The boffins have concluded that action video gamers better decision makers? The short answer appears to be yes. Writing in the popular science magazine Current Biology, which we get for the Spot the Brain Cell competition, the researchers said that they compared the skills of action gamers versus non-gamers by presenting both groups with simple decision-making experiments.

People appeared in the form of an array of dots and the volunteers had to discern the person's main direction of movement. They made this task easier and harder by adding to or taking away the number of dots moving in one direction. Gamers could identify direction both faster and more accurately than non-gamers.

Top boffin Daphne Bavelier, professor of brain and cognitive sciences at Rochester said hat gamers needed experience with "shooter games, where you go through a maze and you don't know when a villain will appear. Strategy and role-playing games apparently won't work.

Nick Farell

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