Study: Playing (Certain) Video Games Makes You Smarter

November 11, 2014 | Bucky Turco

Good news gamers: According to a new study published in the prestigious-sounding Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, people who play action video games increase their learning capabilities. University of Rochester professor Daphne Bavelier explained to Science Daily how this is possible:

In order to sharpen its prediction skills, our brains constantly build models, or ‘templates,’ of the world. The better the template, the better the performance. And now we know playing action video game actually fosters better templates.

To conduct the study, Bavelier’s team asked subjects to play 50 hours of video games in a span of nine weeks. Participants were organized into two groups: action players versus non-action players. Those in the latter group, were asked to play boring, crappy games like The Sims while the others played awesome, cool video games like Call of Duty.

The results:

When they began the perceptual learning task, action video gamers were indistinguishable from non-action gamers; they didn’t come to the task with a better template,” said Bavelier. “Instead, they developed better templates for the task, much, much faster showing an accelerated learning curve.”

Or they were already just a bunch of nerds.

(Image: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)