Video games have overtaken the traditional digital entertainment mediums such as music and TV and are currently among the most profitable entertainment products in the world. Titles such as Call of Duty Ghosts and Grand Theft Auto have sold millions of copies generating billions in revenue.
Online games such as World of Warcraft have also reshaped the gaming industry. The rise in popularity of video games has led to an increase in research keen on finding out what effects video games are having on players.
Lots of parents think they may be harmful to their children’s brain development, teachers may consider them unhealthy, time wasting leisure activities but the gamers always see it as something more.
It’s a great experience and adventure and the rapid rate of technology evolution means games keeping better, cheaper and complex. The availability of broadband internet worldwide is also fueling the popularity of online multiplayer games whereby one can get to team up or fight against a fellow player anywhere around the world. This games have millions of subscribers and generate millions of dollars in revenue.
Although not conclusive, studies into the effects video games have on players seem to point to the possibility that video games may actually be beneficial to the brain and can lead to improved cognitive control and contrast sensitivity and hand-eye motor coordination. A team of researchers were able to use MRI scans in a study to investigate the effects of video games on gamers.
The researchers, using MRI analyzed brain scans of 27 players widely regarded as experts as they had earlier won various national championships of popular games such as DOTA2 and League of Legends. All these players had achieved professional level skills in matters concerning video games. Their scans were then compared with the brain scans of people who rarely played such games i.e. casual gamers.
The scientist scans targeted the brain’s cortex region, which researchers believe to have higher’ cognitive functions commonly found in humans and their distant cousins the great apes. The cognitive functions include empathy, language processing and compassion. Researchers also believe that the insular cortex is responsible for abilities such as speech articulation, swallowing, motor control task such as hand and eye movement and gastric motility.
Video Gamers Have Enhanced Reactions
The research seems to indicate that video games appear to have enhanced the way expert video gamer react compared to their counterparts. Further analysis also point to an increase in the amount of grey matter found in cortex region of the brain and the central insular sulcus.
It appears gaming did actually increase the brain matter for these expert gamers who took part in the research! In addition the researchers also noticed that there was some considerable improvement in the connectivity between the sensorimotor and the attentional parts of the brain. This was greatly seen in expert gamers. This was also seen in the Insula; a part of the brain which scientists are yet to fully grasp its function.
Such kind of research is quite eye opening and goes to show that video games especially action video games may not be all doom and gloom as some proponents may want you to believe. Now before you head out and get that gaming console all in an effort to boost your brain matter please note that there are other activities which can also do the same. Developing a better brain takes dedication and practice coupled with a healthy lifestyle.
Other Ways to Develop Your Brain
Those interested in developing their brain can also consider taking up other activities which entail repetitive skill-based tasks. Sports is one of the most popular routes you can choose to go, driving is also another option and so is an activity such as painting. Such activities are likely to have the same if not a similar effect on your brain development comparable to constantly playing video games till you become an expert.
However, the results of the study are not quite conclusive and more research is still needed in the long term to establish a solid response as to whether video games are harmful or beneficial to the human brain. Remember that your brain is one of the most powerful organ you have therefore take good care of it because it will serve you for many years to come.