The study, conducted at the University of Rochester in New York and published in the prestigous journal Nature
, concluded that people who played fast-action games -- Grand Theft Auto
and Medal of Honor
were cited specifically -- several times a week for at least six months could beat non-gamers in lab vision tests.
Study co-authors Shawn Green and Daphne Bavelier of the University of Rochester said that "game players react to fast-moving objects more efficiently," and could track up to five objects at a time, which was 30% more than non-players. "They can process more information more quickly over time," Bavelier said.
As for what the could mean in practical terms, the researchers said that games show promise in rehabilitating visually impaired patients, training military personnel or air traffic controllers.
To compensate for the fact that people with good vision might naturally be inclined to play fast-action games, and thereby skew the study's results, Green and Bavelier conducted subsequent tests on on non-gamers and discovered that after only ten hours of playing these games, their visual skills improved. Interestingly, people who played Tetris
for ten hours showed no improvement in their visual skills.