Your significant other or son may have been dropping a hint (or 50) about the PS5 now that it’s dropped and Christmas is coming. Whilst every hint may be greeted with an eye roll or flare of the nostrils, it might not actually be the worst present as playing video games does have some benefits to it. Neuroscientists and psychologists have found there can be some brilliant cognitive benefits to playing, so society’s impression that video games will turn your kid into an antisocial, violent shooter may not be exactly accurate. Sure, there are negatives if anyone is hooked to their video games 24/7, but playing a healthy amount may convince all of us to grab a console.
6) Overcoming Dyslexia
It may not be obvious but as many video games contain a narrative, this can encourage kids that wouldn’t typically pick up a book to read more. People with dyslexia have two deficits that action video games address: visual attention and reading ability. A study conducted by the Basque Research Centre looked at the effectiveness of this and found unpredictable video games that force the player to pay attention can help fight dyslexia. Researchers believe the intense focus some games, such as action games take, fosters an increase in attention being exercised, and therefore reading comprehension can increase.
5) Improves Manual Dexterity
If you ever need surgery, you should ask your surgeon what their favorite video game is. If they’re an avid player, you can rest assured you’re in safe hands. Video games played with a console provide vital hand-eye coordination and speed skills. A study found that surgeons who played video games were quicker at performing advanced procedures and their accuracy was better too, as video game lovers also made 37% fewer mistakes. Patients can also benefit as stroke victims have used video games as part of physical therapy to help regain control of their hands and wrists.
4) Teaches Problem Solving
Every parent wants their child to have better grades, but may not think video games will help. Similarly, every partner wants to be able to have constructive conflict resolution, which video games can, again, help with. Mission-based and multi-level games which are like complex puzzles can engage the brain to strategize and think quickly to resolve a problem of some sort. The influence on problem-solving abilities can depend on the type of game, such as when a solution is based on purposeful actions you make. Being forced to adapt quickly in video game settings also improve your decision making. As problem-solving and decision making are highly sought after skills in the workplace, a games console may really be what boost your chances of promotion!
3) Improves Social Skills
This one doesn’t quite fit the stereotype of games being asocial. Who would ever think it would? But games are often played with others, which can forge social skills between people. People who find socializing a little trickier could use it potentially in a form of therapy as video games allow you to focus on interest. The social and collaborative component of some games allows people to perform better academically, build better relationships, and improve their social skills. The increase of multiplayer games means there is an increase in these online social communities. These are not just limited to the screen as approximately 70% of gamers play with at least one friend that they socialize with in real life too.
2) Enhances Attention, Focus & Memory
Video games tend to require an element of remembrance, even in the form of remembering the initial instructions on how the game is played. It can range from this basic level to remembering complex strategies of gameplay or the layout of a gaming universe. Remembering all of this whilst potentially communicating with other gamers, whilst reacting to obstacles, whilst achieving objectives to unlock the next level, all require concentration. By engaging the brain regions involved in these functions, like the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex, you are also reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s. It is often the hippocampal region that decays first with Alzheimer’s so keep your brain strong by keeping your fingers on the controls.
1) Increases Visual-Spatial Skills
The coordination needed to act on the mental stimulation provided by certain video games means the player must coordinate their visual, audial, and physical movement. This inevitably leads to an improvement in visual-spatial skills and subsequently in coordination and balance where these skills are used. A study compared a group who played action games for 30 hours to a group of non-gamers and found the gamer group was able to see objects more clearly in a cluttered space because of their improved spatial resolution. You must focus on these games, because as they say, the devil is in the detail, and by being able to filter for these in games, you can transfer these skills to real-life as your brain becomes trained to spot the details.
Don't let us just tell you the plethora of benefits though. Grab a console, and join in the game. You'll not only make gains in all of the skills above but if your sister/son/husband can't resist a bit of Assassin's Creed, you'll suddenly gain all of this playtime with them. Not to mention, it's the perfect activity to do as we wait out this no longer 'new normal' and hide out for the rest of the pandemic.