Video Games May Improve Your Brain

Video games are one of the fastest growing pastimes on the planet. There are many different types of video games for personal computers and gaming consoles. There are also video games for the Apple Mac and PlayStation Portable. As video games have evolved over the years, so has the technology used to develop them.

A video game or console is simply an electronic game which involves interaction with a user interface or external input device including a joystick, mouse, keyboard, or portable motion detecting device-to generate optical visual feedback. Video games stimulate both the visual and the physical systems in the human brain. This stimulation helps the brain to learn new tasks and actions and exercise its muscles. New studies indicate that playing video games may improve older adults cognitive function, memory, and attention.

While it is difficult to determine how playing video games influences brain function, most experts agree that certain factors contribute to the positive impact that video games have on the brain. Gaming induces both visual and auditory spatial perception, spatial cognition (the ability to see and remember things), and hand-eye coordination. These activities all have a direct impact on how the brain processes information and produces brain activity. When the brain processes information correctly, the results can be highly complex and powerful, allowing people to perform even complicated tasks such as driving a car, playing computer games, and operating machinery.

In the study, published in the March 2021 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Associations, researchers looked at the effects of playing video games on cognitive functions and brain function. The study looked at older adults who were already suffering from age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and dementia. They also studied gamers who were not necessarily experiencing any negative affects from playing video games. In these individuals, the researchers found that the increased brain activity and the improved spatial cognition were responsible for their improvement in cognitive function. Although the results are preliminary, they do indicate that playing video games could be beneficial for cognitive function.

In addition to playing a video game, another way to improve one’s cognitive ability is to engage in mentally challenging activities, such as playing Word or Excel spreadsheets, puzzles, or crosswords. These activities require the brain to use more of the brain than just basic functioning. In essence, these activities use up a lot of brain power, and as a result, the brain gets fatigued very quickly. Regular exercise could help reverse this effect and allow the brain to become rejuvenated. People who play several games a week are particularly prone to have poor working memory, but studies have shown that even someone who plays a simple video game on a weekly basis can have poor working memory if they do not practice.

Playing video games also releases chemicals in the brain called dopamine. These levels peak during periods of playing video games for an average of six hours each day. This amount of dopamine is enough to give the mind extra stimulation and help to sharpen cognitive skills, but it is also enough to cause the mind to wander. In order to counteract the wandering mind, people need to commit to playing fewer video games.

Some experts theorize that playing video games could help alleviate other ailments, as well. In particular, arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome have been linked to prolonged video gaming. While there has yet to be concrete evidence of any correlation between playing video games and a decreased likelihood of having arthritic conditions, it is clear to most researchers that gamers suffer from more frequent illnesses due to stress. Stress can take its toll on our physical health, as well as on our mental health. Therefore, it could be that playing video games could help alleviate other mental health problems.

As video games continue to evolve into high-tech interactive devices, we can expect them to get better. Right now, the current crop of games provide an almost endless number of challenges for gamers. As new technology is developed, we can only expect this trend to go forward. Video games will become more complex, more detailed, and more challenging, all of which will leave players begging for more. In fact, after a day of playing, many gamers will not even feel like playing anymore!