Science

Research Shows Video Game Players Have Enhanced Brain Activity and Superior Decision-Making Skills

Woman Playing Computer Games

According to new research, people that frequently play video games show superior sensorimotor decision-making skills and enhanced activity in key regions of the brain.

Research findings suggest that video games could be a useful tool for training in perceptual decision-making.

Superior sensorimotor decision-making skills and enhanced activity in key regions of the brain are shown in frequent video game players as compared to non-players. This is according to a recent study published in Neuroimage: Reports by Georgia State University researchers.

According to the authors, who used functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) in the research, the findings suggest that video games could be a useful tool for training in perceptual decision-making.

“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,” said lead researcher Mukesh Dhamala, associate professor in Georgia State’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and the university’s Neuroscience Institute.

“Our work provides some answers on that,” Dhamala said. “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.”

Dhamala was the adviser for Tim Jordan, the lead author of the paper, who offered a personal example of how such research could inform the use of video games for training the brain.

Jordan, who received a Ph.D. in physics and astronomy from Georgia State in 2021, had weak vision in one eye as a child. As part of a research study when he was about 5 years old, he was asked to cover his good eye and play video games as a way to strengthen the vision in the weak one. Jordan credits video game training with helping him go from legally blind in one eye to building strong capacity for visual processing, allowing him to eventually play lacrosse and paintball. He is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

The Georgia State research project involved 47 college-age participants, with 28 categorized as regular video game players and 19 as non-players.

The subjects laid inside an FMRI machine with a mirror that allowed them to see a cue immediately followed by a display of moving dots. Participants were asked to press a button in their right or left hand to indicate the direction the dots were moving, or resist pressing either button if there was no directional movement.

According to the research findings, people that play video games were faster and more accurate with their responses.

Analysis of the resulting FMRI brain scans found that the differences were correlated with enhanced activity in certain parts of the brain.

“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,” the authors wrote. “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.”

There was no trade-off between speed and accuracy of response — the researchers point out that the video game players were better on both measures.

“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 wrote.

Reference: “Video Game Players Have Improved Decision-Making Abilities and Enhanced Brain Activities” by Timothy Jordan and Mukesh Dhamala, 22 June 2022, Neuroimage: Reports.
DOI: 10.1016/j.ynirp.2022.100112

Share

View Comments

  • "The Georgia State research project involved 47 college-age participants"
    BAAHAHAHAHAAA! That's not a study, that's a meme.

  • The most common research mistake is to assume causation instead of correlation. At this point, they don't know what they claim to be the conclusion. It could just be that people with better "hand eye coordination" are more likely to become gamers in the first place. Also, they really are just creating a little video game for the study and the study found that gamers were better at gaming. Guess what, runners are better at running, readers are better at reading... I think they need to dig a lot deeper.

  • So can stare at a screen there fingers react quicker then the others when making tuff calls gaming? When they step away from that screen , and into a social surrounding with actual human interaction can they engage engage with others as well as the non gamers? Always yelling in there rooms , but whispering under the breath scared to death when the big bad Grandmother asked them a question like how's your summer been going.

By
Georgia State University

Recent Posts

Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Triggered Monstrous Global Tsunami With Mile-High Waves

Sixty-six million years ago a miles-wide asteroid struck Earth, wiping out nearly all the dinosaurs…

October 5, 2022

NASA, SpaceX Proceeding to Crew-5 Launch to International Space Station

NASA will provide live coverage of the upcoming launch activities for the SpaceX Crew-5 mission…

October 5, 2022

Even Moderate Exercise Can Greatly Increase Brain Size

The effects are more pronounced in brain areas with high oxygen demand. Exercise keeps both…

October 4, 2022

Caltech’s Breakthrough New Nanophotonic Chip “Squeezes” More Out of Light

Electronic computing and communications have advanced significantly since the days of radio telegraphy and vacuum…

October 4, 2022

Parallels to HIV: Another Fatal Monkey Virus Could Be Poised for Spillover to Humans

Evoking parallels to HIV, authors are calling on global health community to be vigilant. According…

October 4, 2022

Scientists Show Transmission of Epigenetic Memory Across Multiple Generations

Changing the epigenetic marks on chromosomes results in altered gene expression in offspring and in…

October 4, 2022