Miss Psychobabble: 3 Ways To Improve The Brain's Health Through Video Games

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1.  Action video games make dyslexic kids read better

For about 10% of children, learning to read can be a hard day's work.  This is due to experiencing a neurodevelopmental disorder called dyslexia.  As the current treatments for dyslexia demand high amounts of resources, researchers all over the world are in search of alternative ways to manage it.

In 2013, Franceschini et al. showed that playing action video games can improve the reading skills of children with dyslexia.  In the study, kids aged 7 to 13 were separated into two groups namely:  Rayman Raving Rabids (fast-paced game) group and Lower Tempo group.  After playing these games, the group with the fast-paced action game was able to read faster and more accurately.

2.  Super Mario caused increase in grey matter
Let Mario take your grey matter to the next level by playing Super Mario 64 for 2 months and at least 30 minutes a day.  
Kühn et al. (2014) showed that constantly playing Super Mario 64 caused an increase in the grey matter of regions responsible for spatial orientation, memory formation, fine motor skills, and strategic planning, particularly in the right hippocampus, the right prefrontal cortex, and the cerebellum.  Thus, video games such as this can potentially be used for patients with schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, or Alzheimer's, whose brain regions have decreased in size.

3.  Action video games help make quicker and more accurate decisions
Would you believe me when I say that action virtual games can improve your decision-making skills even in the physical world?  
In 2010, researchers in University of Rochester found that people who played fast-paced games made accurate decisions at a quicker rate - 25% faster, to be exact!  According to the study, frequent gamers had better sense of what is going on around them that they made faster decisions.  This heightened sense of awareness came from the constant training to avoid being killed in action-packed games such as “Call of Duty 2″ and “Unreal Tournament".  In fact, they were also proven to be more efficient collectors of visual and auditory information.


This goes to show that choosing the right video game is not only fun but is also beneficial to your brain!

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