Cognitive Benefits of Playing Video Games
2 February, 2018

The Cognitive Benefits of Playing Video Games

Recent research indicates that people of gaming can derive not only a great deal of enjoyment from playing video games but also get numerous benefits. If you are interested not only in why people play games but also in how games can impact you, then the following article is just for you.

Cognitive Benefits of Playing Computer Games

If you still wonder why do people play video games and probably do not approve this activity, then we must assure you that there are video games pros and cons. One of the most important cons is that the games can have a positive impact on cognitive performance:

Infographic benefits of playing video games

As you see, there are more advantages that you might have ever thought of. So, find video games to play when bored and you will see that you will get many more benefits in other areas.

Apart from cognitive benefits of playing video games, there are other benefits of playing video games for adults and children alike:

  • With the help of video games, you can calm down and decrease anxiety and stress levels;
  • Playing video games increases your self-esteem, self-confidence, and simply your mood. The more competent and experienced you become in the game, the more of your needs it can satisfy;
  • Playing video games where you are required to cooperate with others improves your teamwork and the ability to make quick decisions in stressful situations.

More Benefits You Would Never Think About

There is demonizing criticism of video games on the part of educators, parents, grandparents, and other adults when it goes about young people. They are severe upon plenty of time wasted on playing, unwillingness of children to be engaged in physical activities, and their vulnerability to violence present in video games. All that is partially true, but the adults tend to disregard certain cognitive benefits of playing video games which make up for the undoubted negative effects.

  1. Children improve their learning achievements via playing video games

There are video games, which not only entertain, but also educate. Children learn how to read, write, compose sentences, count, and do multiple other educational activities while playing. Moreover, the games help the children improve their skills of decision-making and, actually, get the pre-school kids get ready for study in an easy entertaining manner.

  1. Video games contribute to the development of critical thinking

Some video games deal with solving puzzles and mysteries; thus, they make the children’s skills of critical thinking much better. Besides, they contribute to the development of creativity. The players try to solve some game problem, learning how to build logical connections between the events, information, and actions. They also realize how meaningful their choices are and how they influence further events.

  1. The ability to take on-the-spot decisions can be enhanced in the course of video games

It cannot be denied that playing video games, people lose an opportunity to be involved in physical activities. Nevertheless, there are significant benefits as well. For instance, it is possible to develop hand-eye coordination in those games where the players have to move quickly and decide on the next solution in no time. Video games are a perfect solution to a problem of poor reflexes. When a person responds to an on-screen visual stimulus, he or she feels the pressure and has no other choice but to make a quick decision and see its consequences.

  1. Video games influence physically activity not only in the negative way.

Along with cognitive benefits of playing video games, the latter frequently include an element of physical activity. Playing Nintendo Wii, a person has to perform actions to get to the next level. PlayStation Move and Xbox Kinect are also oriented at active players. The focus of these workout games is on physical development; sometimes, a game even refers to getting fit as the key goal.

  1. What can entertain more than a video game?

Fun is the essence of video gaming. It does not matter which game you choose: Call of Duty or Stick RPG 2, you do that to have fun. When you are stressed or irritated with something in real life, why not playing a game to make the mood much better? You can choose the game in accordance with your age, personal preferences, and interests. There is a wide range of styles and subjects. Besides, you can use a system of game rating to make your choice well grounded.

  1. Select suitable games to have beneficial, not harmful experience

Although some parents believe that all video games are filled with vulgarities, violence, and obscenities, it is actually wrong. There are obvious cognitive benefits of video games if the games are chosen properly, in accordance with the age. Both adults and children adore Lego video game series. It is recommended to review the content of the game before playing it; thus, anyone can find something he or she will really enjoy.

Moderation is the main key to making video games serve you right. It is the same with a lot of other activities, which may have negative consequences if done excessively or in a wrong way. It is definitely wrong if you miss your classes, turn down the invitations to meetings, stay at the computer for hours and hours. Then, it is high time to think about being obsessed and take a break for a while. Mind that it is possible to exclude the possibility of excessive waste of time by setting limitations in days and time of playing.

Unfortunately, some people cannot cope with their desire to play games and they neglect their work or studies for the sake of video games. They need immediate professional help, as it may be a signal of having such psychological problems as anxiety or depression. In case a person spends all the time on playing games without any interest to life necessities, all the benefits of video games have no value. However, if one plays video games reasonably and responsibly, they bring no harm and even bring new opportunities. So, unless video games are your actual job, make sure that they do not substitute your life.

Short-Term and Long-Term Impact of Playing Video Games

According to research findings, the effect of video games can last even when you stopped playing some time ago. In particular, the cognitive improvements will be evident not only during the time of play - they will also be maintained further. Besides, research in the field of neurology has demonstrated that video games have a positive effect on memory, attention, and the way how the brain processes information.

What to Expect from Playing?

If you are really eager to get the most of playing video games, be aware of the 80/20 rule: you will derive 80% of benefits from only 20% of time devoted to playing. If you really want to improve your cognitive performance or get some social benefits of video games, mind to spend your time wisely and don't forget about other activities.

How to Know Whether Video Games Bring Benefits to You?

If you are one of those people who see only cons of video games, then the information presented below is special for you. Hopefully, it will make you think differently. To become more sure that video games can bring you benefits, try assessing your skills (or, to be more precise, your progress in those skills and activities) that are similar to the ones you have to perform in the game. If you have noticed that it takes you much less time to accomplish a specific task, solve a problem whatsoever, then you have derived some benefits from playing.

Still, sometimes it is hard to identify whether it was the game that helped you with developing and improving the skill or whether these were some other activities that you are engaged in. Therefore, try to pay more attention to how your cognitive abilities change/ improve after each time you play a game. You might also notice some progress in the process of playing: it always has something to do with the efficiency and the amount of time you spend on a specific task/ problem/ mission, etc.

All in all, now you know that playing video games has both pros and cons. Among the main advantages is that it improves cognitive abilities, such as memory, reaction, decision-making, and so on. Besides, video games have social benefits, which include reduced stress levels, increased self-confidence, and self-esteem, as well as teamwork.

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