How Online Gaming Can Positively Impact Your Brain and Studying Skills

Feb 25, 2019 by

Based on Newzoo’s Global Games Market Report of 2018, the online gaming industry was forecasted to earn around $140 billion in revenue last year. This global trend has formed its own culture, served as an outlet for social connections, and can enrich both productivity and cognitive function, new research contends.

More specifically, the interaction with online games enhances the volume of gray matter in the brain which helps to “refine learned and hardwired skills,” asserts the Charité University of Medicine in Berlin. This is important because gray matter reinforces memory, knowledge retrieval, spatial orientation and fine motor skills.

In addition, this study has found a correlation between online games and the brain’s ability to focus on tasks that require your engaged attention with minimized susceptibility to distractions. This pastime could boost “creative thinking and problem solving” indicates a report from the BBC. In fact, this article goes on to emphasize that even just a few-minute break from a strenuous assignment can offer “a new perspective” or “reset your mind” before then returning to the task.

Some companies also embrace the idea of “gamification” in their workplaces, a method that uses “game mechanics” in order to “motivate people to succeed,” points out Christ Ferguson, a psychology instructor who researches the science of video games at Stetson University in Florida. This concept has gained traction in both offices and schools across the globe, confirms a poll from the website Chumba Casino. In fact, 54% of surveyed respondents game at work, 15% game at school, and another 14% game in both these locations.  

While this might sound like an excuse to mentally check out from your academic or career obligations, there is increased evidence that quick, periodic bursts of gaming can stimulate productivity and bolster performance. Using this framework as a tool for higher education, universities across Europe, Australia and the United States have inserted online games into their curriculum to make the learning experience more interactive for students, enumerates the International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education.

This research posits a notion that games allow students to contextualize information taught in the classroom and utilize it within a digital laboratory to overcome challenges and succeed in objectives of the game. Ultimately, the outcome is enhanced “knowledge acquisition and content understanding” of the lectured material.

Moreover, scientists at the University of Rochester have determined that “online gamers outperform non-gamers” in the areas of concentration, attention and precision. At the college level, this could make a tremendous impact on study habits. For instance, it’s beneficial to condense your exam preparation into small, manageable chunks interspersed with timeouts to maximize cognitive retention.

After an estimated 30 or 45 minutes, the upper limits of data your brain can absorb—not to mention, actually remember—will take a nosedive, adds the millennial culture website Study Breaks. However, just 15 minutes of gaming is an effective mode to “recalibrate your mind” because the “subconscious brain will be processing the information you have takin in while your conscious brain will be enjoying a rest.” Both are crucial to maintain a focused, alert and sharp cognitive state in the midst of all your studies.

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