September 15, 2010

Video Games Help You Make Decisions?

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Action video games require players to make split-second decisions. Now, researchers say this decision-making skill can translate into everyday life.

Researchers from the University of Rochester compared the skills of action gamers to non-gamers through a series of controlled and simple decision-making experiments. They had both groups look at an array of dots and identify the primary direction of the dots' motion. Results showed video game players were able to make judgments faster without compromising accuracy. The gamers also excelled at an auditory decision-making test where participants were asked to decide whether sounds were heard in their right or left ears.

According to researchers, action video game playing often translates to broad improvements in many tasks. They say the improved decision-making benefit only resulted from playing action games. Strategy or role-playing games did not have the same effect. They also said non-gamers who are forced to play action games for 50 hours also improve their decision-making skills.

"Unlike standard learning paradigms, which have a highly specific solution, there is no such specific solution in action video games because situations are rarely, if ever, repeated," the researchers write. "Thus, the only characteristics that can be learned are how to rapidly and accurately learn the statistics on the fly and how to accumulate this evidence more efficiently."
SOURCE: Current Biology, September 14, 2010