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Video Games May Upgrade Players' Cognitive Skills (Told You So, Mom!)

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Studies have previously demonstrated that "mental exercise" video games can actually help participants become smarter. An epochal scientific study (for teens and slackers, at least) now indicates that perhaps the most frequently decried and debated gaming genre could provide similar benefits to cognitive functioning and decision making, while also helping players recognize certain patterns.

According to a study published in Current Biology, gamers -- even fledglings and newbies -- analyze situations and make critical decisions more quickly and just as accurately as non-gamers. The scientists situated study participants (separated into gamers and non-gamers) in front of computer screens and asked them to examine and predict the movements of traveling dots. According to Ars Technica, "both groups performed equally well in terms of accuracy, but the gamers produced the response more quickly than their peers." (Is "gamers" really the accepted nomenclature among the scientific community now? Awesome.)

Some observers may conclude that people with heightened analytical skills are perhaps inherently attracted to gaming, a tendency that could have skewed the results. The researchers accounted for that possibility, though, by "training" the non-gamers through 50 hours of gameplay. (Yeah, Mom. We were just "training" every afternoon after school.) After the arduous and strenuous preparatory exercises, the n00bs began "displaying an enhanced decision time."

Given the recent glut of overwhelming benefits attributed to gaming, and the divine intervention from advocates like rabbis and monks, it seems the rest of the world is finally starting to realize what gamers have known for decades: It's not all fun and games.

Tags: brain, cognition, gaming, research, study, top, VideoGames