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Video game players show 'superior' decision making skills

Brain scans of video game players have shown better decision-making abilities and enhanced brain activity compared to non-players.

Published Jul 14, 2022 9:09 AM CDT   |   Updated Sun, Aug 7 2022 10:01 PM CDT

A study on video games and the brain titled "Video game players have improved decision-making abilities and enhanced brain activities" has been published in the journal Neuroimage: Reports.

Video game players show 'superior' decision making skills 01 |

Researchers from Georgia State University have used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study the brains of frequent video game players. Their study showed "superior sensorimotor decision-making skills" and enhanced brain activity in key brain regions compared to people who did not play video games. The study examined 47 young adult participants, with 28 deemed regular video game players and 19 deemed non-players.

Patients lying inside an fMRI machine were presented with a mirror to see a visual cue followed by moving dots on display. They were asked to press a button either in their left or right hand to indicate which direction they saw the dots move or not to press a button if there was no movement. Overall, the study found the video game players to have faster and more accurate responses correlated with enhanced activity in certain brain regions. Speed and accuracy were both noticeably better, with no trade-off between the two.

"Video games are played by the overwhelming majority of our youth more than three hours every week, but the beneficial effects on decision-making abilities and the brain are not exactly known. Our work provides some answers on that. Video game playing can effectively be used for training - for example, decision-making efficiency training and therapeutic interventions - once the relevant brain networks are identified," said lead researcher Mukesh Dhamala, associate professor in Georgia State's Department of Physics and Astronomy and the university's Neuroscience Institute.

"These results indicate that video game playing potentially enhances several of the subprocesses for sensation, perception and mapping to action to improve decision-making skills. These findings begin to illuminate how video game playing alters the brain in order to improve task performance and their potential implications for increasing task-specific activity," the authors wrote.

"This lack of speed-accuracy trade-off would indicate video game playing as a good candidate for cognitive training as it pertains to decision-making," the authors continued.

You can read more from the study here.

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Adam grew up watching his dad play Turok 2 and Age of Empires on a PC in his computer room, and learned a love for video games through him. Adam was always working with computers, which helped build his natural affinity for working with them, leading to him building his own at 14, after taking apart and tinkering with other old computers and tech lying around. Adam has always been very interested in STEM subjects, and is always trying to learn more about the world and the way it works.

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