Gaming enthusiasts will find any excuse to squeeze in some extra gaming time, but what if we told you that gaming has a multitude of proven benefits? Video games have certainly come a long way since the arcade games of the 70s, but the benefits of gaming go well beyond entertainment and better hand-eye coordination. In this guide, we evaluate some of the most significant benefits of gaming and how modern games are programming better people. The games you play can play an important role in cognitive abilities and overall health.
The measure of your visual function, especially in situations of low light, fog, or glare, is what’s known as contrast sensitivity. In these low-light situations, the contrast between objects and their backgrounds is often reduced. Night driving, for instance, requires excellent contrast sensitivity. Studies have shown that action video gameplay improves visual contrast sensitivity and can even successfully treat a disorder known as Amblyopia, or “lazy eye.” Experiments have required adults to play games with only their dysfunctional eyes. Results showed great improvements.
From early childhood, our abilities to selectively orient or redirect attention allows us to connect with others and make sense of the world. Spatial attention also allows us to regulate our emotional reactions. In a recent article, academics found that action video gaming improved the ability to quickly locate a target stimulus even in a space of distractions. In layman’s terms, games allow children and adults to keep track of a set of moving objects that might be identical to other moving objects in the visual field. Games can also encourage players to refrain from responding to non-target stimuli and overcome dyslexia.
The set of mental skills that help you get things done is known as your executive function. These skills help you pay attention, manage time, switch focus, organize, and multitask. Gaming can improve your ability to allot your mental resources to different categories and problem-solve efficiently. Most people know that mental decline is a natural part of aging, but video game experiments with the elderly have shown that game play can improve cognitive flexibility, attention, abstract reasoning, and memory. Executive functioning improvements can often lead to better quality of life overall.
It might seem strange that an immersive form of entertainment can help you career-wise, but it’s true. Many games encourage leadership qualities and reward players that provide for their communities. Other games require you to improvise on a regular basis, which can translate into thinking and reacting faster when a crisis comes up at work. Studies of laparoscopic specialists found that surgeons who spent several hours or more per week playing games made fewer errors during operation practice procedures. In the same vein, gaming enthusiasts are forced to adapt quickly, and this skill will make you a more flexible employee. Contrary to popular belief, gaming doesn’t have to be isolating. Multi-player games provide a new form of socialization in which players collectively problem-solve. These social skills will allow you to make new social connections in the office and outside of work.
Who would have thought that gaming has so many benefits that apply to everyday life? Don’t feel guilty by squeezing in extra gaming time. Let your family members and friends know that gaming has proven benefits in visual processes, attention, executive functioning, and your career.