According to new research from Adam Chie-Ming Oei and Michael Donald Patterson (from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) published this week in the open access journal PLOS ONE, playing video games a little bit every day can improve cognitive performance. The research is based on a study conducted by Oei and Patterson that directed participants identified as "non-gamers" to play five different games on their smart phones for one hour a day, five days a week, for one month. Each participant was assigned one game such as The Sims, Bejeweled, Hidden Expedition, and two other unidentified titles.
After one month of 'training' with these games, the researchers found that the participants who played the action game had improved their capacity to track multiple objects in a short span of time, while hidden object, match three objects and spatial memory game players improved their performance on visual search tasks. The study's authors say that this research is the first to use a study that compared multiple video games and determined that different skills can be improved by playing different games. The authors also say that video games don't appear to cause a general improvement in mental abilities but can help to train repetitive actions, using certain cognitive processes in video games.
You can check out the paper here. The study was supported by a DSO National Laboratories grant to Michael D. Patterson. Researchers says that "the funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript."