ONR: Gamers Better Terrorist Fighters

January 26, 2010 -

Fighting a war on terror demands that military personnel be able to quickly react and adapt to enemy tactics—traits which improve from playing videogames.

Research currently being undertaken by the Office of Naval Research is showing that videogame training is having “surprising” results in helping military personnel adapt to the challenges of fighting terrorists, according to a story on the Department of Defense website.

Ray Perez, a Program Officer for the Office of Naval Research’s Warfighter Performance department, offered comment on what the group’s research has uncovered so far:

We have discovered that video game players perform 10 to 20 percent higher in terms of perceptual and cognitive ability than normal people that are non-game players.

Using the term “fluid intelligence” to describe such field adaptability, Perez believes that cognitive advances gleaned from playing games can last for up to two and a half years.

He continued:

We know that video games can increase perceptual abilities and short-term memory. They allow the player to focus longer and expand the player’s field of vision compared to people who don’t play video games.

We think that these games increase your executive control, or your ability to focus and attend to stimuli in the outside world.

Perez’s group is looking to advance the integration of videogames into training, eventually hoping to be able to “blur the distinction between training and operations.”


Comments

Re: ONR: Gamers Better Terrorist Fighters

Its a proven statistic that video games also make you have twitchy fingers & you have better reaction time to the outside world. For example, driving. If you were to come close to getting hit by someone & had to swerve around them, you would have faster reflexes than a normal person that doesn't play video games. It is a proven fact. A lot of people I have told this to have discredited what I have said. That's fine, b/c when the people eventually find out that I was right & other gamers that told them, they will look stupid! :) Seriously they will. & I do know that the military uses the trigger happy soldiers behind the screens watching the video footage from the sky from a secret spy plane. & therefore they push the buttons to fire at targets. Just like playing video games, only it's for real. :) What the Defense department it doing is awesome!!! :)

 

 

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Re: ONR: Gamers Better Terrorist Fighters

What's the control?  Are video games really increasing those abilities, or do people who have those abilities gravitate toward games?  I know there was an article up last week to the effect that, to a certain extent, game skill is related to certain preexisting cognitive abilities.

Regarding the last sentence, "Perez’s group is looking to advance the integration of videogames into training, eventually hoping to ba able to “blur the distinction between training and operations.”" -- sounds a little too Ender's Game to me.

Re: ONR: Gamers Better Terrorist Fighters

I do not know aobut this particular piece, but ONR did have some findings showing how introducing games into training resulted in better detection.  So the control was the old training methods, along with 'beofre and after' stats.

Re: ONR: Gamers Better Terrorist Fighters

Speaking from the only firsthand knowledge I have in this matter, I know that most military forces in the west are now searching for gamers to pilot UAVs; traditionally experiences airforce pilots would be selected, but the nature of flying a plane is survival, where as with UAVs it's not the case -- the machine can perform more extreme maneuvers (and suicide maneuvers) without endagering it's pilot, since they're doing it by remote. Gamers have much of the same skill for controlling vehicles remotely, but without the same life-or-death survival instincts that are vital for a successful airforce pilot.

Not exactly Ender's Game, but we're getting increasingly close to remote warfare.

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