Researchers/scientists from Queen Mary University and University College London has recently found that playing real-time strategy games will actually improve the cognitive flexibility.
What’s Cognitive Flexibility?
It is basically your ability to think on the fly and as well as entertain different thoughts at once.
In other words, thinking about multiple concepts simultaneously.
Researchers from the universities mentioned collected 72 female participants and split them into three different groups.
The first two groups played Dota and StarCraft and the third group played a game called The Sims. Each and every group need to complete 40 hours of gaming on the games assigned in 6-8 weeks.
Psychological tests are performed on every participant before and after the gaming period.
Surprisingly, the results show that the participants that played the strategy game (Dota & StarCraft) scored higher in the cognitive flexibility test compared to The Sims participants.
Plus, researchers found that “the volunteers who played the most complex version of the video game performed the best in the post-game psychological tests,” Glass said in the statement. “We need to understand now what exactly about these games is leading to these changes, and whether these cognitive boosts are permanent or if they dwindle over time.”
“Once we have that understanding, it could become possible to develop clinical interventions for symptoms related to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or traumatic brain injuries, for example.”
Video games have been shown to provide brain benefits in other studies, too. Previously, a study in the journal Current Biology showed that action games could help kids with dyslexia.
Researchers from the University of Padua found that playing an action game seemed to improve speed and accuracy of reading skills among children with dyslexia, compared with playing a calmer game.
And scientists at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found that high-school gamers did better at virtual surgery than even medical residents.
Of course, games like StarCraft have been fingered in the past for playing a potential role in promoting violent tendencies. Adam Lanza, the Newtown, Conn., shooter, supposedly was a StarCraft player, for instance.
And according to a recent HuffPost/YouGov poll, more than half of people in the U.S. think there’s some kind of link between gun violence and playing violent video games. However, the research proving such is still murky, HuffPost Science reported.
It is not a magical pill to become smart
You still need to learn history if you want to know about history and you still need to practice mathematics if you want to be good at maths.
What the research is trying to prove is that these strategy games actually makes you think better and faster.
Notes for Non-gamers:
Starcraft, for those who don’t know, is a top-down strategy game. Unlike titles like Halo or Call of Duty which have players aiming down the barrel of a gun, in strategy games you control entire massive armies at once from on high. There’s violence, as tends to happen in war, but you’re so far removed from the action, the blood onscreen is mere pixels. In Starcraft’s case, the game requires constant planning and fast-shifting strategic play. It’s not a twitch reflex shooter, or anything close to it.
Defense of the Ancients (DotA) is a multiplayer online battle arena mod for the video game Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its expansion, Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, based on the “Aeon of Strife” map for StarCraft. The scenario objective is for each team to destroy the opponents’ Ancient, heavily guarded structures at opposing corners of the map. Players use powerful units known as heroes, and are assisted by allied heroes and AI-controlled fighters. As in role-playing games, players level up their heroes and use gold to buy equipment during the mission.
The Sims is a life simulation video game series, developed by EA Maxis and published by Electronic Arts. It is one of the best-selling video games series of all time. As of September 2013, the franchise has sold more than 175 million copies worldwide.