Daphne Bavelier: Your brain on video games

How do fast-paced video games affect the brain? Step into the lab with cognitive researcher Daphne Bavelier in this recent TED Video to hear surprising news about how video games, even action-packed shooter games, can help us learn, focus and, fascinatingly, multitask.

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

We all know that videogames are bad for you, and that shooters are particularly bad, and that the Call of Duty series is far and away the worst of the lot. Well, maybe it's not "known," exactly, but it seems like a fairly reasonable proposition, right? After all, FPSes and war games are twitchy, violent and utterly void of meaningful redeeming qualities. Right?

Starcraft 2 - Heart of the Swarm - Beta

Actually, no, according to cognitive neuroscientist Daphne Bavelier, a researcher at the University of Geneva. As reported by The Escapist Magazine, Dr. Bavelier spoke about the impact of hardcore Video Game on the brain in a recent TED talk, and describes a surprising number of upsides that emerged from playing these intense action games. Taken in "reasonable doses," she says, games like Black Ops 2 can "have quite powerful, positive effects on many different aspects of our behavior." Hardcore gamers have better visual acuity than non-gamers, improved attention and a better ability to multitask and to switch their focus between multiple tasks quickly. Click on the TED Video below to view her full talk. 

Bavelier's studies have also found that "training" on videogames can have a significant positive impact on brain functions and even more importantly, that once they take hold, the improvements last. The long-term trick, as she explained, is to blend the broccoli of education with the chocolate of entertainment; but in the meantime, you can take some comfort in the knowledge that all that running and gunning isn't turning your brain to mush after all. So score one more point for video games: Neurology FTW!

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Jamison Stone

Jamison is the Director and Lead Writer of Apotheosis Studios. In addition to his professional career, Jamison is also a Trustee, Committee Chair, and grant writer for the W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation, an organization which provides grantmaking programs in education, youth development and early childhood development.