How video games change our brain

Surely, many gamers often heard reproaches from relatives or friends that they spend too much time at the computer. In the days when FIFA was just released, gamers spent whole days in virtual matches to receive rewards and acquire promising players for the team. Now everything is much simpler because you can use special boosting services to buy fifa coins, assemble a dream team and calmly participate in matches at an almost professional level. With the help of such services, you will not waste time on boring pumping in games or completing uninteresting quests – your task will be to enjoy the game and even improve the functioning of your brain. 

Still don’t believe this is possible? Read our article and you will understand what benefits gaming has.

Games improve brain function

Daphne Bavelier, a professor in the Department of Psychology and Education at the University of Geneva and the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester, was one of the first to talk about how supposedly meaningless video games improve the cognitive abilities of players.

Those who regularly fought zombies and other evil spirits were better able to distinguish small details and then easily read the tiny font on the packaging. Such a player perceived low-contrast objects well, could mentally “juggle” objects, and became multitasking. Games improved the speed of the reaction: it was increased by more than 10% compared to the original. And such a player reacted faster in a stressful situation. Scientists recorded a positive effect that lasted for two years.

Games make us kinder

In the United States, video games were included in the rehabilitation program for prisoners. In prisons in Oregon, the number of violations has decreased after the opportunity to play on consoles was introduced as an encouragement. But the good behavior reward program consisted not only of gaming but also of an increase in the number of visits and some other benefits – so it possibly worked together. Scientists remain hopeful of discovering the positive impact of video games on prisoners’ moods, levels of stress, and even pain susceptibility. 

A team of researchers from various countries studied the so-called social values ​​(pro-social values): how games can improve relationships with people. According to the researchers, video games motivate teenagers to show empathy better than any training – you just need to help children show it. They developed a game that is as close to entertaining as possible: the alien is forced to act in unfamiliar conditions, showing various emotions. Psychologists have found that after gaming sessions, the subjects experienced changes in parts of the brain responsible for emotional regulation and, ultimately, empathy.

Games stimulate creativity

In 2011, the US government, through the National Endowment for the Arts, recognized video games as an art form. Now in the US, you can get a government grant for their development. But the main thing is not this. It is important that games are officially recognized as one of the engines of the culture.

Games are not only an entertainment product but also a tool for creative self-expression. Back in 2010, independent developer Michael Samin released a manifesto for so-called nongames. These are games without a consistent script that have no entertainment or competitive purpose. Michael Samin’s studio produces non-games, where the player is an observer experiencing some special state. It turns out that games are at least very promising for creative self-expression.

Scientists believe that there are games that make us more creative: these are, first of all, sandbox games like Minecraft, as well as puzzles and simulations. The least creative are shooters and racing games. Psychologists separately emphasize that if you tried to master a new genre of the game for 30 minutes, this will not increase creativity. It’s too stressful. 

Games allow us to explore ourselves

After analyzing the recordings of gaming matches, statistics, and even finger movements, researchers revealed patterns inherent in super gamers. First, high-ranking players had a certain schedule of frequency of games and breaks: in their case, playing more often did not mean playing better. Secondly, professionals used hotkeys at a high speed – from 200 actions per minute. At the same time, they developed such a speed in the first minutes of the game, subsequently not reducing it. And as professional players grew in skill, they used their unique key sequences: scientists determined the gamer only by them. 

The game situation provides a natural, “ecologically” valid environment, not an artificial laboratory one. By activating the subject’s gaming motivation, psychologists make it easier for him to enter the experimental conditions. Simply put, it is difficult to think of a better environment for studying personality than a game.

Do games cure diseases?

Honestly, not yet. But there is scientific evidence that commercial entertainment games help improve mental health, especially for people who are unable to receive immediate treatment. Depression and anxiety are the two most common mental disorders. During the pandemic, isolation was added to the provoking factors. Researchers have found that games help to overcome the lack of interest in life. 

Another ambitious problem that can be solved with the help of video games is the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Doctors and psychologists have long been eyeing first-person shooters, which are also popular among people with PTSD, such as war veterans. So far, the studies have been conducted on a small number of subjects, but the results are promising: games increase social connections, self-confidence, and personal growth, as well as “employment or even leadership opportunities.” According to scientists, this is an inexpensive and effective help for people who, due to their physical capabilities, cannot use traditional treatment and leisure opportunities. Some of the subjects used video games to “distract themselves from suicidal thoughts, drug or alcohol use.” The head of the research team emphasized that the genre of the game did not play a special role in this case.

Another area that has become very relevant during the pandemic is exergaming, or games in the form of exercises, which are a great motivator of physical activity. Neurologists suggest using fitness games for people with genetic brain damage, such as degenerative ataxia. Due to regular play sessions, patients move and coordinate their movements better and thus slowing down the progression of the disease. Plus, they get pleasure, which neither drug treatment nor psychotherapy gives.

You’ll probably want to play the PlayStation again after reading our post. But keep in mind that games are useful when you don’t play them all day long neglecting the real world.

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