Can Games Help You Learn Subconsciously?

Can Games Help You Learn Subconsciously?

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We've all cheered when we hear the "Level Up" sound, but does this carry over into real life? New Scientist thinks so.

In an experiment, 22 volunteers took part in a "sports drink delivery test." Each of the volunteers were then given a laptop with a bicycling game, and a drink-dispensing rig that put two straws in their mouth. If computer cyclists from their team passed them by, one of the straws would give them a sports drink. If an enemy cyclist passed them by, then the drink would be salty tea.

Three days later, the same volunteers came back for a follow-up brain scan and a surprise test. Before the scan, each subject was told to sit in a waiting room with two chairs, both with small towels dangling on one arm. One seat corresponded to the insignia of the friendly jersey, the other to the enemy symbol.

Nearly 75% of the armchair cyclists sat on the seat corresponding to the juice jersey, with most of the subjects saying that they didn't consciously notice the towels at all. The same 75% scored lower on tests of impulsivity.

Under a MRI scan later, the part of the brain responsible for responding to bad taste lit up as soon as the volunteers were shown an image of the enemy jersey.

While fantasy scenarios pre-empting real life actions won't be unusual to anyone who has read about the Stamford Prison Experiment (where people assigned to be guards started seeing "prisoners" as beneath them), no-one had shown that videogames can train the kind of conditioned responses that underlie much of our behavior.

The leader of the study, Paul Fletcher, a neuroscientist at Cambridge University, England, said "Our research suggests whatever you've learned in the computer game does have an effect on how you behave toward the stimulus in the real world."

"I don't think this is evidence that video games are bad," says Fletcher, a former gamer. "We just need to be aware that associations formed within the game transfer to the real world - for good or bad."

Juice or salty tea may have helped form the associations, but Deborah Talmi, a neuroscientist at University College London, suspects the connections could have formed without their help.

"Many virtual things activate very real representations in the brain," she says. "For instance, online donations to charities activate the same reward center - the nucleus accumbens - that is activated to food reward in rats."

Source: Slashdot
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The_root_of_all_evil:
Can Games Help You Learn Unconsciously?

Wouldn't that be 'subconsciously' not 'unconsciously'? The participants were wide awake...

Lukeje:

The_root_of_all_evil:
Can Games Help You Learn Unconsciously?

Wouldn't that be 'subconsciously' not 'unconsciously'? The participants were wide awake...

You're right Lukeje. I must have been unconscious :)

So that's why I've had this uncanny urge to stomp on mushrooms, I was subconsciously hoping that coins would come out.

man-man:
So that's why I've had this uncanny urge to stomp on mushrooms, I was subconsciously hoping that coins would come out.

Wouldn't that be smashing your head into brick walls hoping coins would come out?
NB. Don't do this; it doesn't work like that.

well.. i did see stars when i hit my head on the brick.....

lol but for a serious answer... i think it does make you learn... not as much probably as reading a text book.. but still..

for example when i was younger i played a game called runescape and i remembered that like the basic ores, i.e tin and copper make bronze...

This kind of falls flat because I don't have straws linked up to drinks that whenever I get shot, salty tea is in my mouth and whenever I shoot someone, Pepsi is in my mouth. I know what they are getting at, but unless you take a swig of whatever drink or eat whatever food is around whenever you do something successfully...this doesn't really work.

Its just simple positive and negative reinforcement, thats all.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Lukeje:

The_root_of_all_evil:
Can Games Help You Learn Unconsciously?

Wouldn't that be 'subconsciously' not 'unconsciously'? The participants were wide awake...

You're right Lukeje. I must have been unconscious :)

You proofread in your sleep? :shock:

Well it's more like mental conditioning than actual learning I suppose, since no real benefits are noticed. Then again the results are rather interesting. I guess we're not that much different to Pavlov's dogs after all.

 

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