Videogames 'can help to develop mental flexibility'

Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

Playing certain types of videogames can help to make the mind more flexible and agile, according to a new study.

Scientists from Queen Mary University of London and University College London came to this conclusion after testing 72 volunteers for their cognitive flexibility, defined as an ability to adapt and switch between tasks and think about multiple ideas at once to solve problems.

“Certain videogames can help to make the brain more agile and improve strategic thinking, according to a new report.“

It was found that participants who were trained to play the fast-paced real-time strategy game StarCraft were quicker and more accurate in performing tasks than those who played The Sims, a more sedate life simulation game.

The team now wishes to study what aspect of fast action games causes these changes and assess whether these cognitive boosts are permanent, or if they dwindle over time.

Dr Brian Glass from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences said: "Once we have that understanding, it could become possible to develop clinical interventions for symptoms related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or traumatic brain injuries, for example."

Scientists have also published reports in recent months assessing whether more active videogames involving motion controls can help to enhance physical health among players.

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