You can game almost anywhere, at any time. How is this affecting you?
As we have grown up, video games have become more and more mainstream. There are even professional gamers, who amass millions of dollars a year through tournaments, and sponsorships.
What are the effects of video games on our bodies and minds? Do they improve your reaction time? Hand eye coordination? Intelligence?
I recently watched a study on Wired.com, and found a lot of good information.
Their results show that gaming can improve your perception, spatial cognition, and top down attention. Other improvements could include cognitive processing, focus, and even your hand eye coordination.
Video games as a category is very broad. In order to get a solid study and see the actual effect, you need to break down the games into smaller portions. For example, you can see how one game affects motor skills versus another game. Generally, action games improve processing speed, and attention span, as well as the ability to be aware of your surroundings in a 3D setting.
Scientists are currently trying to create video games that will be used to improve attention spans and be prescribed to do so.
Some of the negative effects of gaming include physical damage to the thumbs for extreme gamers. In order to combat this, gamers should stretch their hands every day for 5-10 minutes. These stretches are very similar to those performed by people suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Some gamers even swear by cryotherapy to recover after a long gaming session!
The medical community does not completely agree with all of the data that could say that video games can improve brain function. How do you dose the amount of gaming to play? The ability to measure the amount of improvement on cognitive function is also subjective, to some.
As in all things, do your due diligence and research before you become a professional gamer. While there may be positive effects from gaming, not all subjects saw significant improvement in cognitive function. There are good and bad characteristics, but playing just for fun definitely isn't a bad thing!