Online Gaming May Sharpen Cognitive Skills, According to Studies

In addition, regular practice can also can improve a player's visual processing abilities.

3 min read
Online Gaming May Sharpen Cognitive Skills, According to Studies

Anything intended for public access must hold utilitarian value—which is to say that it should benefit most people. Given the humongous user base that online, skill-based games have garnered, it makes sense to look at how their usage impacts those who play it frequently. Human psychology is multifaceted and, therefore, complex. The creative design of online games leaves an imprint on the human brain, which in turn develops further cognitive skills.

According to a study by students and professors of Brown University, in addition to sharpening visual processing abilities in frequent players, online games also have the potential to improve the brain’s capacity to acquire such skills. Gamers showed faster consolidation of learning when moving from one visual task to the next, as compared to non-gamers.

Professor William Cheng of Dartmouth also opined that online games can be useful tools for analyzing philosophical issues. He tries to establish a correlation between people’s perception of the real world—inclusive of human behaviour, the mind, and emotions—through online gaming activities.

Another study emphasized how online gaming has a significant role to play when it comes to improving cognitive skills, such as perception, attention control, and decision-making. In relation to cognitive skills, the soft training that takes place inadvertently during playing online games has proven to create changes at the neurological level. Results have largely shown an increase in cognitive skill and perception. In other words, there is a direct and positive impact of online gaming on the activity of motor neurons, as per these studies.

In fact, substantial evidence shows that specific types of online games can enhance brain structure or improve certain functional aspects of cognition. They can also be useful as neuropsychological assessment tools. In a meta-analysis, playing online games were found to positively affect spatial skills, and that these could affect other spatial tasks outside the online game context. Higher attention span, enhanced creativity, and problem-solving skills, along with positive emotions lead to relaxation and help in dealing with anxiety—a common syndrome among the youth today.

Extensive research has shown that participating in online games improves cognitive development in terms of greater sensitivity to contrasts, better eye-to-hand coordination, and superior memory. Findings in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience suggest that playing such games can trigger long-term changes in the brain and result in improving temporal visual selective attention.

The freedom of playing online games, however, is also accompanied by the choice of moderately using such platforms.

Self-regulated checks and responsible gaming can enable players to develop and strengthen their neuronal networks through constructive output—again, a subset of analytical and deductive abilities and logical reasoning. To prevent unintended outcomes of online gaming, moderating one's participation is crucial and can maximize individual benefits.

Cognitive science is an area of research that explores how modern reality is shaping up individual interests. Online gaming is a significant part of this, especially in the post-pandemic era which has seen a paradigm shift in recreational choices and career options. There's clearly an opportunity here to develop a sound ecosystem, which allows online gaming to thrive not only for national growth but also individual growth in terms of cognitive development.

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