There is a paper recently published in American Psychologist, the flagship journal of the American Psychological Association, that looks at the positive effects of video game play. We have already heard about the hidden moral messages in video games, but this research paper, by Isabela Granic, Adam Lobel, and Rutger C. M. E. Engels, entitled “The Benefits of Playing Video Games,” attempts to balance out the kinds of research that has been undertaken around gaming. The authors write:

Decades of valuable research on the effects of violent video games on children’s and adolescents’ aggressive behavior already exists, and this is indeed an important body of work to consider. However, we argue that in order to understand the impact of video games on children’s and adolescents’ development, a more balanced perspective is needed, one that considers not only the possible negative effects but also the benefits of playing these games.

They summarize research on the positive impact of gaming in the following areas: cognitive, motivational, emotional, and social:

1. The Cognitive Benefits of First Person Shooters

In controlled tests, folks who played first person shooters showed “faster and more accurate attention allocation, higher spatial resolution in visual processing, and enhanced mental rotation abilities.” Apparently, the improvement in spacial skills that gamers develop are comparable to those developed in formal courses designed to teach the same skills.

image: joyreactor.com

image: joyreactor.com

2. Call It Motivation Not Addiction

The idea here is that through persistent engagement, young people develop a sense of identity, “beliefs about their intelligence and abilities,” that can have long-term impact on their proclivity for success.

image: photobucket.com

image: photobucket.com

3. Control Your Emotions

“Gaming may be among the most efficient and effective means by which children and youth generate positive feelings.”

image: joyreactor.com

image: joyreactor.com

4. How To Be A Social Butterfly

“Contrary to stereotypes, the average gamer is not a socially isolated, inept nerd.” So many of today’s games are multiplayer games that require interacting with other players. According to this paper, “over 70% of gamers play their games with a friend, either cooperatively or competitively.”

image: deviantart.net

image: deviantart.net

You can read the full summary of the APA research paper via Forbes.

  • http://www.clpnation.com/ Alec Burnright

    LOL!