Gaining Brain Cells through -- Video Games?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Despite the perception of video games having negative effects on people's minds, many actually build rather than burn brain cells.

If your skeptical of that statement you may ask "Well, how could they possibly help more than harm?" That's a fair question considering the view on video games, so here's four answers.

Video games provide good hands-on experience, job training, contextual learning, and teamwork.

"Many children can pass biology and physics tests, but few can apply that knowledge to solve real-world problems." says author James Paul Gee. Video games promote higher levels of engagement over passive forms of entertainment such as TV and movies because people are actually involved with the on-screen activity.

In the job world, different universities and businesses such as NASA and the U.S. Army are using interactive simulations and virtual worlds to educate employees. An example is Loyalist College when they had a simulation program where students played as guards of U.S./Canada boarder crossing and saw the rate of successful test scores go up from 56% to 95%.

Dr. Jeffrey Taekman, the director Duke University's Human Simulation and Patient Center, teaches medical students saying simulations help build the abilities to make choices, see results, and apply information immediately. Traditional classrooms can't compete when considering greater scalability and group collaboration.

There are many multi-player games being played and the more popular ones that have a huge following connect players through the internet. These games often require active teamwork and high-level project management to complete objectives and battle other opponents. Georgia Tech professor and Persuasive Games founder Ian Bogost says video games require advanced mastery of resource allocation and practical leadership techniques.

Video games help in all these ways, but being a gamer myself I've learned that they at least encourage people to fall on their face then get up and try again until they succeed. I don't think that's too bad of a lesson right?

You can't lose to many brain cells learning skills like these from video games.

Photo credit: from Creative Commons


Kelsey Hagelberg February 9, 2011 at 6:00 AM  

I can see where the video games can be beneficial because it is better than sitting and watching tv because you get the opportunity to communicate with individuals playing live or just by playing against them. I can also see how they could be detrimental because of all the time that may be consumed. This time could be used elsewhere, perhaps studying textbooks?

Charlie Sandvick February 9, 2011 at 9:33 AM  

I think certain video games or perhaps some skills you learn while playing video games can be helpful. Maybe not violence driven, but the hand eye coordination skills and interactive learning you get while playing. It's also a good excuse to play games between studying in your actual textbooks :) If they found a way to play games and learn essential skills and concepts in school many more people would be driven to study.

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