Video games: Good for the brain?

Video games may have a positive impact on the development of children's cognitive skills, contrary to popular belief.

Child playing a video game on a tablet

The preliminary results of a large-scale US study were published in the scientific journal "Jama Network Open". Among other things, the scientists had evaluated the brain recordings of around 2000 children aged nine and ten who had taken part in a comparative test on the possible effects of video games.

The children were divided into two groups: The first group consisted of subjects who never play video games, the second of those who spend at least three hours a day playing such games.

Both groups were given the same two tasks involving reaction time and memory. The result: the group of children who played video games clearly managed both tasks better than the other group.

Attention and memory could benefit

During the test, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) images were also taken of the subjects' brains. The brains of the children who played video games showed more activity in areas responsible for attention and memory.

The results made it seem possible that video games might be a "cognitive training experience" with measurable effects, the scientists write.

However, it is not yet clear whether the better cognitive performance is the incentive for children to devote themselves strongly to video games, or whether, conversely, this better performance is the result of playing video games in the first place.

Written by: sda

Photos: Keystone

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