3 studies that show playing games is good for you
We all know that bowling, playing laser tag and hitting up the arcade are more exciting than home time on Friday, but what you might not know is that games can be good for so much more than just putting a smile on your face.
Fortunately, scientists like playing games and proving these kinds of theories as much as we like talking about it, so here are just three studies that show you should definitely visit your AMF Bowling Centre once that Friday evening comes around.
Mental gymnastics with puzzles
In 2014, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore released research results that took a closer look at what puzzle games did for the brain.
Using a puzzle game favourite Cut the Rope, they discovered that even just an hour per day with this brain-teasing, cute candy-munching critter led to improved executive functions in adults. Other games involved in the study were Modern Combat, Fruit Ninja and StarFront Collision, and while these may have their own benefits, Cut the Rope was the only one shown to improve mental flexibility.
This flexibility in your brain is what you need to make decisions when faced with new challenges or unexpected twists. In other words, thinking on your feet.
An additional dimension for additional memory
Just last year, the University of California added their two cents to the gaming-is-good-for-you evidence, with a study that involved one of our favourite - Super Mario 3D World.
To test their theory, researchers asked study participants to play either the 3D Super Mario game, or the regular 2-D game Angry Birds for 30 minutes every day for a fortnight. Then, when they measured the difference in before-and-after memory tests for each group, you can guess which one fared better.
Those who played the 3-D game improved their scores by roughly 12 per cent - while those who played the 2-D game showed no improvement.
On-screen action and off-screen movements
Another study in 2014 - this time from Canada's University of Toronto - examined action video games such as Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty. They used a mix of participants, some who were regular gamers, and some who had little or zero gaming experience in the previous two years.
In this case, it was found that the gamers learned new sensorimotor skill more quickly than the control group of non-gamers. At first, both study groups performed at about the same level in the task, but the gamers eventually pulled ahead and performed better - significantly so.
Sensorimotor skills are what help you coordinate what happens between your sight and your movements, such as the work that goes into riding a bike, or even bowling a strike!
Now, where do we sign up to be part of these studies?