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We make gaming furniture conceptualized and designed by gamers, for gamers. On this blog we share news about our products, as well as trends and news from the gaming industry and any other topics we think might interest gamers.

If you’re on this site, it’s pretty clear that you are as serious about gaming as we are, and we have good news for you!

Gaming is good for your brain.

Often blamed for causing antisocial, violent and addictive behavior or even called a waste of time, video games have a bad reputation. But researchers have found that gaming is actually good for your brain, but you probably already knew that.

Here are the facts:

Gamers are great strategic planners

German researchers established that gaming causes increases in the size of the parts of the brain responsible for spatial orientation, memory formation and strategic planning as well as fine motor skills, according to a study conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development. The positive effects of gaming may also be useful in therapeutic interventions targeting psychiatric disorders.

To investigate how video games affect the brain, the scientists asked 23 adults to play the Nintendo DS remake of the classic platformer Super Mario 64 over a period of two months for 30 minutes a day. The control group did not play video games.

gray matter volume increase resulting from video games
Brain regions showing a significant increase in gray-matter volume post-test (credit: S. Kühn et al./Molecular Psychiatry)

 

In comparison to the control group, the video gaming group exhibited increases of gray matter in the right hippocampus, right prefrontal cortex and the cerebellum, measured using MRIs.

The changes in the regions responsible for strategic planning, memory formation and more were more pronounced if the participants wanted to play the video game.

Gamers make the right decisions, faster

Scientists from the University of Rochester, NY discovered that playing action-driven games trains people to make the right decisions faster. According to a study, the researchers found that players develop a heightened sensitivity to what is going on around them, and this benefit doesn’t just make them better at playing video games, but also improves other skills that help with everyday activities like multitasking, driving, reading, and navigation.

The researchers tested dozens of 18 to 25-year-olds who were not regular video game players. They split the subjects into two groups. One group played 50 hours of the first-person shooters Call of Duty 2 and Unreal Tournament, and the other group played 50 hours of the life-simulation game The Sims.

After these periods of prolonged play, all players were asked to make quick decisions in several tasks designed by the researchers. In the tasks, the participants had to look at a screen, analyze what was going on, and answer a simple question about the action swiftly. The action game players were up to 25% faster at coming to a conclusion and answered just as many questions correctly as their strategy game playing peers.

Action game players’ brains are more efficient collectors of visual and auditory information, and therefore arrive at the necessary threshold of information they need to make a decision much faster than non-gamers, the researchers found.

call of duty ghosts sniper rifle screenshot
Playing Call of Duty enhanced players’ ability to make correct decisions | Photo from www.callofduty.com

Stretching that ol’ brain

Similarly, British researchers found that some video games, particularly strategy games such as Starcraft, can increase brain flexibility, which is considered a key to human intelligence.

The study was based on psychological tests conducted before and after volunteers played Starcraft or The Sims for 40 hours over several weeks. They found that participants assigned to play Starcraft experienced gains in their performance on psychological tests, completing cognitive flexibility tasks with greater speed and accuracy.

starcraft 2 gameplay
Playing StarCraft improved the performance of players in cognitive flexibility tasks | Photo from www.blizzard.gamespress.com

Gaming improves women’s aptitude at visual attention and cognition

Gaming contributes to closing the gender gap. NPR recently reported that brain researcher Jay Pratt, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, found that when women who’d had little gaming experience were trained on action video games, women – who make up about roughly 42% of computer and videogame players – were better able to mentally manipulate 3D objects, a skill at which men are shown to be naturally more adept.

This skill is called spatial cognition, and it’s an essential mental skill for engineering fields. After 10 hours of training, Pratt brought the women back to the lab and gave them the spatial cognition test again and found that the women improved substantially, nearly meeting the score of their male counterparts in only a short time. According to Pratt, playing these video games improves your ability to learn, and to find and integrate new information.

Remember these facts next time someone bugs you about your League of Legends obsession. Check our blog for updates on our gaming desks and other innovations in gaming.