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Surprising study results: Computer gamers learn much better


Good news for gamers: computer gamers learn faster

Overall, computer and video games have a rather bad reputation. For example, they are associated with addictive behavior or even acts of violence. But there are also increasing indications of positive effects from computer games. In a current study, neuropsychologists from the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) have now been able to demonstrate that gamers obviously have advantages when learning.

The scientists had computer gamers and a control group compete against each other in a learning task in which the gamers performed significantly better and also showed a higher activity in a learning-relevant brain area, the hippocampus, during the test, reports the RUB. Apparently, computer games have a positive effect on comprehension and information storage, which makes it easier for gamers to learn. The results of the current study were published in the specialist magazine "Behavioral Brain Research".

Weather forecast task as a learning test

In their investigation, Professor Dr. Boris Suchan, Sabrina Schenk and Robert Lech from RUB confronted computer gamers and non-gamers with the so-called weather forecast task, which is considered an established test for recording the learning of probabilities. In the test, the test subjects are shown a combination of three playing cards and are supposed to assess whether the cards predict rain or shine, the scientists explain. The different combinations are associated with different probabilities for rain and sunshine. Over time, the test subjects learn to correctly interpret the subjects based on the feedback and thus to predict the weather.

Gamers grasp situations more quickly

According to the researchers, gamers were particularly good at playing card combinations with high uncertainty - for example, when a combination predicted rain in 60 percent and sunshine in 40 percent. In addition, the analysis of the questionnaires showed that the players had gained more insight into the importance of the cards. "Our study shows that video gamers are better at quickly grasping situations, generating new knowledge and categorizing knowledge - especially in situations of high uncertainty," emphasizes lead author Sabrina Schenk.

Computer games stimulate certain brain regions

The scientists believe that gamers can expect better results because video games stimulate certain brain regions. Her way of learning was accompanied by an increased activity in the hippocampus, which in turn played a crucial role in learning and memory. "We believe that video games train certain brain regions such as the hippocampus," says Schenk. This is “not only exciting for young people, but also for older people; because in old age changes in the hippocampus lead to a decrease in memory, ”explains the neuropsychologist. This could possibly be treated with video games in the future. (fp)

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