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Take that, mum! Study shows playing video games makes you smarter

A study has found those who played video games while growing up had improved cognitive processing and performed better at memory-based tasks.

Despite the narrative that video games are the culprit for all numbers of issues facing young people today, studies have indicated people who grew up playing video games performed better at working memory tasks and showed increased motivation.

The paper was published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, and revealed that individuals who played video games growing up are in fact better at memory tasks as well as hand-eye coordination.

Donky Kong
Photo credit: Kelly Sikkema

The study, conducted at the Open University of Catalonia in Barcelona, was originally intended to measure correlation between non-invasive brain stimulation and video game training. After finding no correlation, they decided to shift their focus to past gaming experiences on intelligence.

The study sample included 27 individuals between the ages of 18 and 40, of all sexes. The group was mixed with those who had played video games earlier in life and those who had not.

All participants played the Nintendo classic Super Mario 64, a game that has previously been used in studies to show structural changes in the brain. The study members were required to play for one and a half hours per day for 10 days, and were then tested to see if cognitive function had improved.

The results showed that participants who grew up playing video games were much better at working memory tasks than those who had not, even if they hadn’t played since their childhood. Other areas the gamers excelled was puzzle solving and mind work.

Marc Palaus, a researcher who conducted the study, said:

“People who were avid gamers before adolescence, despite no longer playing, performed better with the working memory tasks, which require mentally holding and manipulating information to get a result…”

“People who played regularly as children performed better from the outset in processing 3D objects, although these differences were mitigated after the period of training in video gaming, when both groups showed similar levels.”

So if you ever considered putting ‘professional gamer’ down on your resume, now might be the time.