Department of Defense Research: Gamers Are 20% Smarter

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Department of Defense Research: Gamers Are 20% Smarter

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In a brief from the U.S. Department of Defense, researchers claim that gamers are 20% better at cognitive functions than non-gamers and supply us all with argument ammunition.

Ray Perez, a doctor of educational psychology, is a program officer at the Office of Naval Research's warfighter performance department and has been studying the effects that playing videogames has on the training of men in the armed forces. Conventional wisdom held that once an individual reached 20 years of age, their brain stopped developing and their intelligence ceased growing. Perez's research suggests that playing videogames can increase someone's "fluid intelligence," or the ability to think outside the box, regardless of a person's age.

"Our concern is developing training technologies and training methods to improve performance on the battlefield," said Perez. "We have to train people to be quick on their feet - agile problem solvers, agile thinkers - to be able to counteract and develop counter tactics to terrorists on the battlefield. It's really about human inventiveness and creativeness and being able to match wits with the enemy."

"We have discovered that video game players perform 10 to 20 percent higher in terms of perceptual and cognitive ability than normal people that are non-game players," Perez said. "We know that video games can increase perceptual abilities and short-term memory." His research suggests that gamers focus longer and the field of vision for gamers is larger compared to non-gamers. Perez continued:

We're now looking for the underlying neural mechanisms that are responsible for these changes in behavior and in abilities. We're using various kinds of neural imaging techniques like [functional magnetic resonance imaging] that identify different areas of the brain that show activity when you're performing certain tasks, and we can begin to look at what area of the brain is active during the processing of video information.

We think that these games increase your executive control, or your ability to focus and attend to stimuli in the outside world.

The research that Perez is conducting has military applications, certainly, as further evidence that games should be used more to train and educate the soldiers of tomorrow.

But, from a gamer's point of view, the fact that a government funded military study is saying that games are a good thing is just awesome sauce. I give this article to you as further ammunition in the argument against the Michael Atikinsons, the Jack Thompsons or the Joe Liebermans of the world. The U.S. military has concluded that...

Games are good.

/argument

Thanks to Escapist reader, Korias for the tip.

Source: Department of Defense

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Huh. That explains a lot.
Still, I wish there were more detail on their research; they only talk about their findings on the site.

I think that it's not so much that games make you smarter, more that smart people tend to play games nowadays.

I'm certainly not smart at all, and I've been playing games since I was 6.

Awesome Sauce indeed! Well they have long said gamers adapt to new military tech more readily than the old timer army dudes. (get more out of simulators)

edit: [gamer interchangeable with young ppl XD]

Furburt:
I think that it's not so much that gamers are smarter, more that smart people tend to play games nowadays.

This.

woo tis be tah awesomotron, gamz are making me smart.

Hang on a second......research.....accurate research......actually proved something GOOD regarding video games?

...I think hell just froze over...

So that's why the Marines sent me information in the mail. They know I'm a gamer, and thus they want me to fight for them!

While I'm all for positive research...

This is basically the military saying "Yes please to more gamers for the military."

Does anyone else get that Zapp Brannigan feeling?

Like we're gonna be the ones used to plug the enemies cannons with our bodies?

Dear me, I'm SO stupid. I couldn't possibly join your army, Sir.

When I give the word, run like your life depended on it

Normally I'm not a big fan of the American Military complex but right now I just want to hug myself a General.

HardRockSamurai:
Hang on a second......research.....accurate research......actually proved something GOOD regarding video games?

...I think hell just froze over...

Well, there has been plenty of that to be honest, but how many politicians are out defending our cause, and waving around every little bit of info they find?

None.

duh!

I think its just that smart people play games rather than games make you smarter.

Just a theory though

It makes sense when you think about it. Most good games are made to teach you a certain mechanic and then apply that mechanic to a number of different situations. They're essentially training you how to learn by yourself.

Julianking93:
I think its just that smart people play games rather than games make you smarter.

Just a theory though

Furburt:
I think that it's not so much that games make you smarter, more that smart people tend to play games nowadays.

I dunno what sort of places you guys come from, but where I live, morons play video games too.

How much is 20 percent? Is that much?

=P

Games are a fun way to learn things. I wouldn't be as good in English as I am today without games.

Furburt:
I think that it's not so much that games make you smarter, more that smart people tend to play games nowadays.

Spend 6 minutes playing anything on xbl and say that.

If anything, this is more a condemnation of the US public school system than praise of "gamers." Being taught how to pass a standardized test so your school can get funding is around 70% of the curriculum these days.

Kids today could learn more in a single play through of Myst than a year of public schooling.

Furburt:
I think that it's not so much that games make you smarter, more that smart people tend to play games nowadays.

I'm certainly not smart at all, and I've been playing games since I was 6.

Wait, What. You think that smart people tend to play games. Sure many smart people do. But spend some time on xbox live in any shooter and listen to the slew of stupididty/racism/homophobia and you might change your opinion. Its maddening the stupidity you see on there.

This makes sense I would say playing some video games makes me smarter

Anti-game retards are just gonna rage on how "video games are teaching people to be better killers".

So much for this.

gee your tax dollars at work

brodie21:
duh!

hooray!! post count +1

You'd think that with this style of posting you'd have a much higher post count. Just saying

I laughed out loud at the people who suggested "smarter people tend to play video games". Just.... no. Seriously, go on ANY other gaming website beside this one and you're going to see that many gamers are just as stupid as any non-gaming idiot.

That being said, this article made me happy. This isn't just some small, private research facility, this is the freaking Department of Defense.

Vindication!

My counterpoint is that most smart people were already playing games before they became smarter.

Grayjack72:
So that's why the Marines sent me information in the mail. They know I'm a gamer, and thus they want me to fight for them!

The Marines actually do look for videogamers to help with Intel/mapping/radio departments. The air force likes gamers for computer operations and unmanned vehicles (as well as the Navy).

Really the backbone of the military is built on "nerds" or people who work their asses of to get stuff done. This cannot exclusively be for the US military though, I bet if the British or other countries tried the same study they would get similar figures.

e.x The Russians used Tetris as a training tool during the cold war for everyone from the regular army to the Spetznaz.

jimduckie:
gee your tax dollars at work

Its the first thing all year Ive heard about that I like lol.

Grayjack72:
So that's why the Marines sent me information in the mail. They know I'm a gamer, and thus they want me to fight for them!

Oorah? or maybe you just got drafted. Who will know? The government, I bet.

tkioz:
Normally I'm not a big fan of the American Military complex but right now I just want to hug myself a General.

The Commandant of the United States Marine Corps has always had an interest in technology and people who are technologically inclined.
People ask why
Its because people who play video games know what the fuck they are doing and can multitask. The harder you work to keep things like information flowing the more people live.

Its very important to find people who can do the job.

Captain Pancake:

Grayjack72:
So that's why the Marines sent me information in the mail. They know I'm a gamer, and thus they want me to fight for them!

Oorah? or maybe you just got drafted. Who will know? The government, I bet.

The USMC DOES NOT take draftees.

I would love to believe this but let me point out:

A: This statement could be intended to justify their video game recruitment scheme.
B: This statement could be an attempt to flatter gamers into the army.

Other than that if their is genuine evidence that this is something other than a torrent of bovine turd then WOO HOO go us for having a reflex advantage over the average person. Speaking of which I love how the spokesman initially refers to non gamers as "normal people" and then attempts to correct this with "that are non gamers". Oh good save man good save. :)

Captain Pancake:

Grayjack72:
So that's why the Marines sent me information in the mail. They know I'm a gamer, and thus they want me to fight for them!

Oorah? or maybe you just got drafted. Who will know? The government, I bet.

I think I'm too young to be drafted.

Greg Tito:
"We have discovered that video game players perform 10 to 20 percent higher in terms of perceptual and cognitive ability than normal people that are non-game players,"

OI!

Apart from that: Finally, some recognition of our collective genius

as long as they don't catch onto the whole "inflated anonymous egos" thing, we may become Gods amongst Men

That sure does explain why military bases have Xbox360 game rooms. it makes the military smarter, and not because it gives them a chance to do training exercises as they play Modern Warfare 2 before they go outside to be Modern Warfare 2.

Oh great. Food for the gametards to claim their intellectual superiority over non-gamers. Another great day for humanity, have a nice day people.

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