Playing video games have shown to have positive effects on cognitive health. It is no wonder why, because the majority of games require players to follow rules, think tactically, make fast decisions and fulfill numerous objectives to win. In one study, psychology professor  Arthur Kramer from University of Illinois recently found that Big Huge Games’ Rise of Nations strategy game improved specific cognitive skills (such as short-term memory) in adults in their 60s and 70s under lab conditions.

The biggest difference between time spent playing video games versus times spent watching television is that watching television is a completely passive experience. The majority of TV viewers just tune in and start swallowing whatever is presented.

Studies have shown, that games  help alleviate common stress that we feel every day. PopCap-endorsed study by East Carolina University’s Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies in 2008 found that casual games can improve players’ moods.

There was one interesting but small study by doctors at Beth Israel Medical Center, New York noticed a link between gaming and improved performance in laparoscopic surgery. A study of 303 laparoscopic surgeons (82 percent men; 18 percent women)  showed that surgeons who played video games requiring spatial skills and hand dexterity and then performed a drill testing these skills were significantly faster at their first attempt and across all 10 trials than the surgeons who did not the play video games first. It’s hard to believe, but not playing games could even lead to someone’s death!

Chicago-based psychologist Dr. Kourosh Dini argues that video games can teach us empathy. “One of the big things about many games is you’re interacting with other people in such a way that you have to actively think about what the other people are doing or thinking in order to either play against them or play them cooperatively. Either way you’ve got to be engaged in trying to think of how is this person learning and what’s this person going to be doing next.”


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