Sponsored By

Looking at the positive and negative effects of gaming on the brain.

Edward Wills, Blogger

December 4, 2015

3 Min Read

When we think about gaming, a lot of the time there is the question of how it can affect your brain. This is something that may be a big concern for parents, especially those from older generations who did not grow up with gaming themselves. It’s also something that I get asked about a lot. People know that I like to play video games and that I spend a lot of time doing it, so I get a lot of questions about whether it makes people violent, whether it improves my skills elsewhere, and so forth. I decided to take a look at the facts we know so far and what kind of conclusion was can come to.

Positive Effects

First of all, it’s pretty clear that gaming can have some positive effects on your brain. I can tell you the difference between the Model 1887 and Olympia shotguns thanks to Call of Duty, something that I never would have known otherwise. Plus, not all video games are just mindless shooting or running through mazes – you can try out brain exercises like NeuroNation, to keep your brain in healthy working order and really put yourself through your paces.

It’s also been shown that also classic video gaming can seriously help to improve the way your brain works. It can enhance your visual capabilities and spatial awareness, improve the way your memory stores objects, help your strategy and decision making skills, allow you to focus on more than one task at once, all of which are useful areas of development. Hand-eye coordination will of course improve as well, and it has been pointed out that many of the skills above are very important in a working environment – particularly one that is high-pressure and fast paced.

Negative Effects

A recent study found something a little startling – that because gamers are using a certain part of their brain to navigate the games, they are actually in danger of damaging the hippocampus. The study was still looking at things in the early stages and no strong link has yet been found, but it is thought that the patterns of brain activity associated with long hours of gaming (yep, the kind that I do) could lead to lower hippocampal integrity. If that sounds like Greek to you, just know that it’s a condition associated with leading to neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s. Which, you know, I might be susceptible to anyway – so there’s probably not much need to worry about it just yet.

What about the infamous link between video games and violence? The problem with this one is that no one has ever really been able to prove it conclusively. Some studies suggest that the games encourage violence, while others suggest that this only happens in case when the child or adult already has violent tendencies. Some studies even suggest that kids with violent behaviour patterns can work out their stress in-game and live a less violent life in the real world.

Whatever the case may be, I can certainly say that I feel my life has been enriched by video games. I have learned new things, met some amazing people both online and offline, and thoroughly enjoyed myself every step of the way. If gaming wasn’t fun, we wouldn’t do it – simple as. I’d like to see another method of learning and skill development that can be as fun as this.

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox

You May Also Like