Reseachers at the Netherlands-based Leiden University say gamers who regularly play first-person shooters outperform non-gamers in memory-based tasks.

The latest addition to the “science says” cavalcade comes from The Netherlands, where a team headed by Dr. Lorenza Colzato has determined that first-person shooters may actually be a good way to improve your memory. “Players of violent videogames, such as first-person shooter games, have often been accused in the media of being impulsive, anti-social or aggressive,” the good doctor said in a video posted earlier this month on YouTube. But shooters “are not just about pressing a button at the right moment, but require the players to develop an adaptive mindset, to rapidly react and monitor fast moving visual and auditory stimuli.”

To see whether the demands of those games could actually help improve mental acuity, Colzato’s team compared the performance of people who play at least five hours of shooters a week with that of non-gamers “on a task related to working memory.” Gamers “were faster and more accurate in the monitoring and updating of working memory” than non-gamers, according to the abstract, while non-gamers “were faster in reacting to go signals, but showed comparable stopping performance.”

“Our findings support the idea that playing FPS games is associated with enhanced flexible updating of task-relevant information without affecting impulsivity,” it concludes. That second bit is just as important as the first; having a better memory is of little value, after all, if all you can remember is that you want to kill everyone who looks at you the wrong way.

Calzato was blunter in her assessment, saying, “We believe that gaming is a fast and easy way to enhance your memory.” And a lot more fun than the usual brain trainers, too.

Source: Science Daily

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