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Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Robotics Channel
Reported March 18, 2013

Video Games Exercise Brains?


(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Did you know that playing video games can actually make you smarter?  New research suggests that playing video games for an hour each day can improve performance on cognitive tasks that use similar mental processes to those involved in the game.  
In the study at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, non-gamer participants played five different games on their smartphones for an hour a day, five days a week for one month. 
Some study participants played games like Bejeweled, where they matched three identical objects, or they played agent-based virtual life simulations, like The Sims.  Others played action games or had to find hidden objects in the game Hidden Expedition.
After the month of training, scientists found that people who had played the action game had improved their capacity to track multiple objects in a short span of time, while hidden object, match three objects, and spatial memory game players improved their performance on visual search tasks. 
Previous studies have said that action games can improve cognitive skills, but the authors state that this is the first study that compared multiple video games in a single study and show that different skills can be improved be playing different games.
Researchers also say that video games don’t appear to cause a general improvement in mental abilities.  Like muscles, repeated use of cognitive process in video games can improve performance on other tasks as well.
SOURCE:  PLOS, March 2013
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