It was suggested many times in the past that playing video games can grant us better memory, decision making, or coordination, among other things. Well, it turns out that games can actually improve our brains according to a recent study done by researchers at the University of Toronto. The researchers learned that people who play fast-paced action games like Assassin’s Creed or the new Call of Duty Advanced Warfare are able to learn a new sensorimotor skill faster than those who don’t play these games. Sensorimotor skills are skills that require coordination between vision and our other senses such as riding a bike, typing, or even walking up and down stairs.
A lot of these skills are difficult to learn at first but once a person gets really good at them, they can performs these tasks even without consciously thinking about them. Researches say that gamers were not better at these tasks than non-gamers in the initial stages of the test but were able to learn the patterns and perform much better than the others by the end of the experiment. “This is likely due to the gamers’ superior ability in learning a novel sensorimotor pattern, that is, their gaming experience enabled them to learn better than the non-gamers,” said Davood Gozli, who led the study. The test involved tracking a small square that moved in complicated, but repeated patterns with a mouse cursor. Two groups of volunteers participated in the test – one composed on non-gamers and one made up of gamers who regularly play fast-paced action games like Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty Advanced Warfare.
While initially both groups had a hard time learning the complicated patterns, over time the gamers were able to learn them much faster than their non-gamer counterparts. Interestingly, the study also revealed that gamers who play non-action games like The Sims do no seem to posses the enhanced learning ability exhibited by those who play action titles. So, it seems that only certain games can help you learn patterns faster while others have little to no effect on your brain, at least as far as learning is concerned. Games used in the study include: Call of Duty Advanced Warfare, Assassin’s Creed Liberation, and The Sims.