Neuroscience and the Games We Play

Most of us are aware of the physical and psychological benefits video games can create. Research studies that have proven that surgeons who play video games demonstrate improved hand-eye coordination, and that those who play games like Halo show improved vision and decision-making skills. But new research presented at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting shows how playing video games can actively shape the way we think and learn as well.

For example, recent studies show that playing video games positively impacts how peoples’ brains respond to their environment. A team at University of California at Irvine has been testing the effect that exploring 3D environments has on our brains and shown it to potentially improve our memory and cognition, and even slow their eventual decline. Along those same lines, neuroscientist Daphne Bavelier has published a paper that looks to show how video games may actually foster brain plasticity (that is your brain’s ability to change throughout your life) and learning.

While it’s true that studies show that the brains of gamers are more active in the areas most associated with learning and memory, what’s especially exciting is that through training, playing video games can get anyone to think the same way and show the same activity in those brain regions.

It will be a long time before scientists get even close to uncovering everything there is to learn about our cerebral cortexes. Neuroscience, is needless to say, a complex field; And if Metal Gear can help anyone improve the way they think and understand the world around them, that’s awesome.   

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