New research from the Netherlands finds that young people who play games that require fast-paced strategic thinking and planning may improve learning, health and social skills, and strengthen cognitive abilities including problem solving, reasoning, memory and perception. Researchers say that these benefits can occur even when a game contains violent content. The research from the Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands was recently published in the journal, American Psychologist.
Lead author Isabela Granic of Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands says that, while studies about the adverse effects of video games should not be ignored, the positive experiences and benefits of the video gaming experience should be incorporated into a more holistic view on how video games affect people, especially in young people.
"Important research has already been conducted for decades on the negative effects of gaming, including addiction, depression and aggression, and we are certainly not suggesting that this should be ignored," Granic said. "However, to understand the impact of video games on children's and adolescents' development, a more balanced perspective is needed."
Researchers found the aforementioned benefits from popular first-person shooter games such as Call of Duty or Halo. According to the study, these games can enhance a player's capacity to think about objects in three dimensions just as well as academic courses designed to enhance the same skills would.
"This has critical implications for education and career development, as previous research has established the power of spatial skills for achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics," Granic said, noting that this type of enhanced thinking was not found with playing other types of video games, such as puzzles or role-playing games.
For more details on the study, and more of Granic's thoughts, check out this report from Nature World News.