A new study conducted by a Wheaton College professor has concluded that people that play action and puzzle games are better able to think through complex problems.
Rolf Nelson, a professor of psychology, conducted the study and published his findings in the November edition of the journal Perception. In the study, he had 20 students try to solve a spatial relation problem. The students were then given a puzzle game or action game to play. Once done with the game, the students were given the chance to finish the spatial relation problem again.
Results showed that puzzle players finished the task slower, but with more accuracy, while action players finished the task quicker but less accurately. Both finished quicker than if they had not played a game at all.
The goal of the study, according to the abstract from the journal:
To understand the way in which video-game play affects subsequent perception and cognitive strategy, two experiments were performed in which participants played either a fast-action game or a puzzle-solving game. Before and after video-game play, participants performed a task in which both speed and accuracy were emphasized. In experiment 1 participants engaged in a location task in which they clicked a mouse on the spot where a target had appeared, and in experiment 2 they were asked to judge which of four shapes was most similar to a target shape. In both experiments, participants were much faster but less accurate after playing the action game, while they were slower but more accurate after playing the puzzle game. Results are discussed in terms of a taxonomy of video games by their cognitive and perceptual demands.
The full study can be found in the Perception journal or online, although you need a subscription to view the complete study in PDF format.
A press release from an online casino company latched onto the study, adding blackjack and poker to the puzzle category:
Of course there are other games that may also boast some of the same results as the video puzzle games including popular games like Sudoku and Boggle as well as card games like poker and blackjack. Activities that might have similar effects to the action games are most sports which not only improve response times but also promote strength and fitness.
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