and the world, including cognitive scientists, is starting to see that as clearly as a wii game detail on a hi-resolution digital monitor.
As I noted a few posts ago, an eschoolnews article this month discusses not only how increasingly ubiquitous and “open access” games are becoming (they’re playing wii in Senior Citizen centers), but how they may be measurably altering our cognitive processes–getting our brains to think differently.
According to the piece, “Daphne Bavelier, professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester in New York …says her research suggests that playing action video games on a regular basis can alter a player’s attention skills….’We have recently shown that playing first-person point of view action video games affects several aspects of perception, attention, and cognition.’” The article goes on (my emphasis added)–
Skills that are enhanced by action video game training…include low-level vision owing to enhanced contrast sensitivity function; various aspects of attention, such as monitoring several objects at once or searching through a cluttered scene; more complex task constructs such as multi-tasking and task-switching; and a general speeding up of perceptual processing.
And here’s the money quote, the one that makes my video gaming colleagues shout out things like, “Bam!” or “Fail!”, the one that answers the question: “Do gamers think better than the rest of us?”
…yes, it’s true–gamers have better focus and better visually selective attention…
We now are recognizing how these games push brains to growth. Now, what should we include? Can we lose the violence and competitiveness, or is that part of the engagement? What powerful, positive learning is made possible through the game channel?
image courtesy of http://www.maddog.ie/