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Gaming can improve visual attention, ability to focus, finds neuroscience study

A study published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found that one hour of gaming affects brain activity.

  • Researchers from China and the U.S. conducted a study on the effect of video gaming on attention.
  • The study involved 29 male students who were identified as either experts, who had a minimum of two years experience in playing action video games and were ranked in the top seven percent of League of Legends players; and non-experts, who had less than six months of experience and were ranked in the lowest 11 percent of players.
  • The researchers evaluated the participants’ visual selective attention, which is the ability of the brain to focus on relevant visual information while inhibiting less relevant information, before and after playing the video game.
  • In order to evaluate their visual selective attention, the researchers presented each participant a square in the center of a computer screen. Then, they presented another square in a different part of the screen. The participant was then asked to locate the position of the second square relative to the first.
  • Simultaneously, the researchers observed brain activity linked to attention using an electroencephalography (EEG).
  • Initial assessment showed that expert gamers had more brain activity linked to attention, and scored better on the initial visual selective attention assessment.
  • After one hour of gaming, both experts and non-experts showed improvements on visual selective attention, and both received same scores on the post-game assessment.
  • The brain activity of non-experts were similar to that of the experts after they played the video game.

The findings of the study indicated that even a short period of video gaming can improve attention skills.

For the full text of the study, go to this link.

Journal Reference

Qiu N, Ma W, Fan X, Zhang Y, Li Y, Yan Y, Zhou Z, Li F, Gong D, et al. RAPID IMPROVEMENT IN VISUAL SELECTIVE ATTENTION RELATED TO ACTION VIDEO GAMING EXPERIENCE. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 2018; 12: 47. DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2018.00047

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