Gaming
Video Gamers Can Capture More Information From A Visual Scene

Are you a hardcore gamer? Do u spend hours playing video games? If yes, congratulations, according to a new study appeared in the June edition of the Journal  Attention, Perception and Psycho physics, Gamers will have ability to extract more information from a visual scene. This capability empowers the gamers to make better and faster use of any visual input.

imagesPlenty of studies show that video games or any kind of games that don’t require physical movement can have negative impact on the gamer. But counter-intuitively, there have also been many studies that show how these games can influence an individual in a positive way. Various studies proved that video games can reduce stress and depression, provide pain relief, improve decision making skills etc.

According to the researchers at Duke University, USA, hours of time spent at the video gaming console will not only provide entertainment but can also probably train the brain to make quick use of visual films or scenes.

Researchers studied the behavior of 125 participants who were either non-gamers or very intensive gamers. The study took place at the Stephen Mitroff’s Visual Cognition Lab, Duke. These participants helped in discovering and exploring the benefits of being a gamer.

Each participant was given a visual sensory memory task which included a circular arrangement of eight letters for just one-tenth of a second. After a delay in time ranging from 13 milliseconds to 2.5 seconds, an arrow appears focusing on a point in the circle where the letter had been. The participants were asked to identify which letter had been in that spot.

At any given instance, intensive video gamers surpassed non-gamers in recalling the letter. People who are addicts of video games efficiently and quickly recollected the letters. Earlier experiments by other scientists have found that gamers can respond to visual stimuli quickly and can track more items than non-gamers. It also showed that the gamers possess more observation skills than non-gamers.

This is because when playing a game, a gamer makes “probabilistic inferences” about what he is viewing either a good guy or a bad guy and controls the navigation as rapidly as he can. This increases the observation and quickness in the gamer. With time and experience, the gamer gets better. To reach at a probabilistic conclusion, they will need less information and hence, they do it faster.

Though, participants in both the groups experienced a rapid decay in memory of what the letters had been, the gamers outperformed the non-gamers. Due to heavy gaming experience, the gamers can either observe keenly or can retain the visual memory longer or their ability in decision making might have improved. The researchers mention these as some of the reasons for the superiority of gamers in making probabilistic inferences.

But the results clearly show that prolonged visual memory retention is not the reason. The other two reasons might be possibly responsible for the enhanced visual capabilities of the gamers. To get the accurate reasons, the researchers will need more information from brainwaves and MRI imagery to find out where the brains of gamers have been trained to exceed in performance on visual tasks.

This study was supported by grants from the Army Research Office , the Department of Homeland Security, DARPA and Nike Inc.

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