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Video Games Can be Good For Adults' Brain And Memory


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By Margarita Nahapetyan

The U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR) has published a report entitled "Adults Benefit from Playing Video Games", which claims that video game players have greater perceptual and cognitive functions than non-gamers.

According to the scientist Ray Perez, a doctor of educational psychology and a program officer in the ONR's warfighter performance department, gamers demonstrate 10 to 20 per cent better performance at cognitive functions when compared to non-gamers and that video games increase perpetual abilities and short-term memory. Dr. Perez also claims that gamers would also be better on the battlefield than non-gamers as games help them focus better and for longer periods of time.

Dr. Perez's research suggests that playing video games can increase someone's "fluid intelligence," or a person's ability to think outside the box, regardless of age. According to the scientist, the big changes made to the human brain by video games allow individuals to adapt new mental strategies for problem-solving much faster, an improvement previously believed to be impossible.

Fluid intelligence is a psychological term that refers to thinking outside one's own acquired knowledge, the ability to work outside one's present mindset, to think beyond what one has been taught, to go beyond the experience in order to solve problems in new and alternative ways. Fluid intelligence lets individuals see through obfuscation to find patterns and meaning, and for nearly fifty years it was believed that fluid intelligence is something you were born with or not and it could not be improved. However, now the experts think that video games can succeed where all others have failed, improving it for up to 2.5 years, so one must be a dedicated gamer, not just a one-time experimentalist.

The Office of Naval Research is attempting to develop training technologies and training methods in order to improve soldiers' performance on the battlefield. Because current U.S. soldiers are facing "significant challenges," it is becoming more necessary for the U.S. government to find training techniques that will improve a soldier's advantage on the battlefield. And according to Dr. Perez, gamers might be best equipped to meet those challenges.

Dr. Perez is continuing his research in order to identify specific areas in the brain that are responsible for the effects of video games on people's cognitive abilities, at the same time introducing games in the Navy training program. An example of that is a game where players are set in a cave in an artificial world and have to interact with AI to successfully complete a mission.

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