Never judge a book by its cover, or a person by their game!
Whenever I hear that academia is poking around in the world of gaming, I always shutter a bit. When uppity college types (many of whom have never touched a DualShock controller in the past) start taking an interest, it’s typically for reasons that do not bode well for us gamers. Many studies written on the University level seem to focus on tying outburst of violence and psychotic behavior to a thread that leads back to whether or not the person was exposed to violent video games at some point.
While a simple Google search will turn up literally hundreds of studies just like that, I’m happy to say today I bringing you news that paints us in a positive light for once. Did you know that, because you play video games, you’re likely smarter than the average bear…er…person? It’s true. This entire time you thought you were simply vegging out in front of your television, when in fact, you were sculpting your brain into a lean, mean, learning machine! Recent findings released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences not only sights gaming as a key factor in individuals becoming better learners overall, but they specifically highlight the FPS genre as a primary catalyst. Believe it or not, Call of Duty is singled out as a title researchers found to be of particular interest. It states those who played games such as this demonstrated a “greater capacity” to learn. So what we’re being told in essence is, if you’ve played games since you were young, you’ve been much more likely to absorb knowledge on a broader range of subjects (and perhaps more easily) vs. those who have not.
Not a bad feather in our cap if I do say so myself! Lucky for us, the accolades spilling from this new study don’t stop there.
As it turns out, we’re not just more fine-tuned mentally, but physically as well. Other researchers have proven in the past that gamers typically have faster reflexes and process visual information more quickly. This study takes that one step further, as Daphne Bavelier (who is a professor at the University of Rochester) recently told CBS News. “Prior research by our group and others has shown that action gamers excel at many tasks. In this new study, we show they excel because they are better learners” says Bavelier. Of course, that’s not to say there aren’t exceptions to the rule. Frankly, I think we all know a family member or friend who loves games but is dumb as a box of rocks. Having said that, it’s nice to know that all these years of button mashing haven’t been a complete waste for the rest of us! They seriously need to make an Xbox Achievement for that like today.
I encourage you to read up on the study and do additional research regarding the benefits gaming culture can provide. It’s probably just a matter of time before another paper makes us all out to be Charles Mansion again, so enjoy our 15 minutes of fame. God knows the major news networks aren’t going to pick up on a story like this. I mean, why would they? It goes against their well thought-out narrative which places videos games at the epicenter of all evil.
So remember kid, the next time your parents ask you why you’re wasting time playing those dumb video games, you can happily reply “…because I wanna’ go to Harvard someday that’s why!”