Tag attention

Video Games: good? bad? good? at least for visual attention. 0

Feb9

pac manDaphne Bavelier and her team at the University of Rochester have been doing research looking at the effect of video gaming on something called visual attention.  This is not the same as what we normally call “attention” which is really something we control and do on purpose.  Visual attention is the brains ability to focus on an object or event withing the visual field.  It seems that gamers can “see” something new in their visual field more quickly than non-gamers.  It also appears that they can also pay simultaneous attention to more objects  (gamers = 5, non-gamers = 3).  Gamers I talked to said that they could easily keep track of more complex visual environments now than they could back when they started. 

Now if we add the idea of cognitive exhaustion; that brains become more efficient in their use of energy (glucose) as it gets better at doing something, then it stands to reason that as gamers get better at “seeing” more objects or events in on the screen, that they do so more effortlessly, leaving more cognitive resources to other cerebral processes like motor reflex.

Your Brain on Video Games 3

Oct19

Over the last six years, there have been a number of studies where they place an individual in an fMRI and having them play a video game while measuring a variety of measures of cognitive activity.  One that intrigues me happened a number of years ago at the University of Southern California, where subjects played a game called “Tactical Ops”.  Normally, subjects stuck inside a pounding MRI machine can handle only a max of 20 minutes before a break.  In this case, an hour later the players were still going strong.

The actual results of tracking the blood flow and measuring the dopamine levels is not nearly as important as what this says about attention and the power of intermittent reinforcement. 

On a larger level, most studies have concluded that while there are definitely down-sides to digital game addiction, playing certain games can truly improve pattern recognition, systems thinking, patience, and peripheral vision.

Rick’s Recommended Games: