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.


Thanks to Escapist reader, Korias for the tip.

Source: Department of Defense

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