Several times it has been suggested that playing video/computer games trains the brain to become cognitively more skilled. This doesn’t refer to hand-eye coordination, but to memory, thinking, reasoning, decision-making skills. However this hypothesis has been challenged by researchers at the University of Illinois who had non-gamers as participants. These individuals played one of three video games and after more than 20 (non-consecutive!) hours gaming the participants took some psychological tests. Unfortunately they showed no increase in memory skills or multitasking ability as had previously been predicted, though it is still possible that this type of gaming could improve concentration even if other cognitive skills don’t benefit.
So is this doom and gloom for gamers’ self-worth? Not really, as we all know that one study proves nothing, and a few hours of gaming is unlikely to rewire the brain in any meaningful way. Of course, as the lead researcher Boot says, “Perhaps individuals with superior abilities are more likely to choose video gaming as an activity in the first place.”