It turns out that hardcore first-person shooters have a number of positive effects on the cognitive functioning of the human brain.
We all know that videogames are bad for you, and that shooters are particularly bad, and that the Call of Duty series is far and away the worst of the lot. Well, maybe it’s not “known,” exactly, but it seems like a fairly reasonable proposition, right? After all, FPSes are twitchy, violent and utterly void of meaningful redeeming qualities. Right?
Actually, no, according to cognitive neuroscientist Daphne Bavelier, a researcher at the University of Geneva. In a recent TED talk, she spoke about the impact of hardcore shooters on the brain and found a surprising number of upsides. Taken in “reasonable doses,” games like Black Ops 2 can “have quite powerful, positive effects on many different aspects of our behavior,” she said. Hardcore gamers have better visual acuity than non-gamers, improved attention and a better ability to multitask and to switch their focus between multiple tasks quickly.
Bavelier’s studies have also found that “training” on videogames can have a significant positive impact on brain functions and even more importantly, that once they take hold, the improvements last. The long-term trick, as she explained, is to blend the broccoli of education with the chocolate of entertainment; but in the meantime, you can take some comfort in the knowledge that all that running and gunning isn’t turning your brain to mush after all.