Playing video games for hours does not rot your brain, according to Duke University researchers.
In fact, Greg Appelbaum, an assistant professor of psychiatry in the Duke School of Medicine said that its tests show that hours spent at the video gaming console train the brain to make better and faster use of visual input.
He pointed out that the brain changes cause gamers see the world differently and they can extract more information from a visual scene.
Researchers found 125 participants who were either non-gamers or very intensive gamers.
They ran each participant through a visual sensory memory task that flashed a circular arrangement of eight letters for just one-tenth of a second.
After a delay ranging from 13 milliseconds to 2.5 seconds, an arrow appeared, pointing to one spot on the circle where a letter had been. Participants were asked to identify which letter had been in that spot.
Intensive players of action video games outperformed non-gamers in recalling the letter.
The best brains were formed by “first-person shooters,” a gamer makes “probabilistic inferences” about what he’s seeing really quickly.
Gamers also had slightly better memory of the symbols that they saw.
The researchers examined three possible reasons for the gamers’ superior abilities. It could be that they see better, they retain visual memory longer or they’ve improved their decision-making.
They have ruled out that prolonged memory retention is a factor and think it might be a combination of the other two.
To get at this question, the researchers will need more data from brainwaves and MRI imagery to see where the brains of gamers have been trained to perform differently on visual tasks.