Why Video Games Help Your Brain

Patrick Lawrence

According to a study by the University of California at Irvine, video games helped increase the brain's gray matter.

The study revealed that 20 to 30 minutes of video gameplay a day could result in an increase in gray matter in the frontal lobe by an average of 10%.

Researchers also discovered that there is a link between video gameplay and cognitive development in children.

Although the study suggests that if kids play video games, the gray matter will increase, researchers only looked at those that had an above-average number of video game titles, specifically one to four.

When compared to a group of children who had no video game titles, there was no difference in gray matter in any of the children. This shows that video games have an indirect impact on the development of the brain.

Researchers also found a link between working memory and how much video game play a child had. The more playtime they had, the more cognitive processing was likely to occur in the brain.

According to New York magazine, cognitive benefits can occur from all video games, from shooting video games to playing educational video games. The benefits of video games include:

Increased stroke protections and decreased stroke symptoms

person holding black wireless controller

A 2013 study revealed that video games, such as the virtual reality game, End Space, might reduce the risk of a stroke by 17%.

In the study, 33 out of 36 participants suffered a stroke. After playing End Space, participants exhibited a 27% reduction in the odds of having a stroke.

Another study, which was presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2014, found that playing video games helped decrease the risk of strokes in patients with preexisting cardiovascular disease.

Researchers discovered that playing video games had a significant impact on the participants, who were specifically more active.

After a two-year period, the participants were less likely to suffer from atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter.

Increased creativity

In a study, researchers discovered that playing video games produced an increase in creative thinking.

This study, published in the journal Learning and Memory, also revealed that video game players who had higher cognitive performance experienced an increase in creativity.

Interestingly enough, this study was specifically done with laboratory participants.

It is safe to assume that the same link is present in real life, especially considering that there are more than one billion video game players in the world.

Improved working memory

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According to the Atlantic, playing video games can help you increase your working memory.

Working memory is an important ability that allows the brain to keep multiple ideas in mind and retrieve them for a specific task.

While playing video games, you are most likely improving your working memory.

Low-level degenerative dementia

In another study, it was discovered that people who suffer from mild-to-moderate dementia, that has not progressed to Alzheimer's disease, who played video games for 20 minutes a day, 3-4 times a week, for 4 weeks, showed a decrease in signs of cognitive decline.

The study also concluded that as long as the video games did not have overt learning or cognitive control training, the video games can provide an adaptive benefit.

Decreased stress levels

It has been proven that playing video games helps reduce stress levels.

In fact, a 2009 study found that playing video games can have the same positive effects on your mood as exercise.

It also found that while working memory and reduced stress does not directly correlate to how much you play video games, having a higher cognitive functioning can allow you to better deal with a stressful situation.

This has been shown to improve mental performance.

Decreased immune system infections

Two boy and girl holding game controllers

Researchers have discovered that playing video games can help decrease the chance of an infection, such as tuberculosis or chickenpox because games are packed with immune-boosting resources and natural anti-viral agents.

This has been proven in a couple of separate studies, which found that playing video games decreases your risk of contracting some viruses, such as the Epstein-Barr Virus.

Video games can also increase your ability to sleep.

The study, which was published in the journal Scientific Reports, found that video games that incorporate the social element, such as multiplayer games, provide a greater boost in sleep than non-social games.

While some of the factors contributing to better sleep have not been entirely uncovered, the evidence suggests that playing video games can improve your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Better information processing

The video game series Super Mario is a great example of how playing video games can improve your ability to process visual information.

Super Mario, as a video game, was developed to help visually impaired players perform tasks that require close and accurate spatial attention.

However, in 2006, a study published in the journal Science found that playing Super Mario could improve our ability to process images.

The study also found that this increased visual processing ability was tied to better auditory processing, as well as a decrease in visually demanding tasks.

These are just a few of the many benefits of playing video games. I think you'll find that there are far more benefits to be found.

Video games are here to stay and continue to improve.

Now that you know the benefits of playing video games, don't you want to know how to play video games?

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