3D Video Games Might Boost Memory

Health News
3 min read
Hindi Female

They make you smarter, dumber, violent, sedentary, fatter and now please add ‘boosts memory’, to that list. Video games and science have had a wretched past. But now a study in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that 3D video games can boost the brain’s memory function by up to 12%.

12% might look small but scientists say, this is typically the percentage of memory function lost between the ages of 45 and 75.


The Study

Researchers at the University of California Irvine gathered a group of undergraduates who were novice gamers and divided them in two experimental groups, one was assigned to play a commercially available 2D or 3D game: Angry Birds or Super Mario 3D World and the second was a controlled group who was given a visual memory task.

(Photo: iStock)

The gamers were put through an intense “mandatory half hour practice for two consecutive weeks” - before and after their two weeks of “training”, participants in both the group underwent tests to establish the extent of their cognitive functions.

After a fortnight, a comparison of pre and post-video game scores for the 3D group showed an impressive spike in memory performance: about 12% across the group. Now this figure is not only statistically significant, but also coincides with what researchers have estimated to be the amount of memory loss humans naturally experience between the ages of 45 and 70.

The study has appeared in the Journal of Neuroscience.


2D Games vs 3D

3D games have shown to increase memory function, scientists are keen on applying these findings on people who suffer from memory loss diseases (Photo courtesy: NPA 3D)

3D games are stunning in terms of design, complexity and information. For one, the spatial layout of the 3D games activates the brain’s exploratory instincts. 2D games have one simple rule in mind, go straight or go right - there is no mandatory need to search for stuff if you are on a speed run. 3D on the other hand, is far more intense, with depth and dimension to explore - not only does that add to the thrill, it also stimulates the different areas of the brain and increases spatial memory.

Earlier studies involving rats showed that 3D environments stimulate the brain’s hippocampus, which is known to play a role in spatial memory.

But if you are not a video game person and have a smaller brain, that is no excuse for not doing your homework. Remember, cognitive functions do not count, what you do with your brain matters. Just remember the hare and the tortoise story. And in the meantime, looks like there’s no harm in exchanging the crossword puzzle for a controller once in a while.

P.S: In no way does this story aim to promote any kind gaming. Given the contradictory information which comes out on video games every now and then, we recommend strenous physical activity as a far healthier way to boost memory.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  memory loss   Video Games   Brain 

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