Action gamers make better drivers, soldiers, surgeons
Presumably not while actually playing, though
Stateside brain experts say that their latest research indicates that playing action video games makes people more able to make correct decisions quickly under time pressure - potentially turning them into superior drivers, soldiers or surgeons.
"It's not the case that the action game players are trigger-happy and less accurate: They are just as accurate and also faster," says cognitive researcher Daphne Bavelier. "Action game players make more correct decisions per unit time. If you are a surgeon or you are in the middle of a battlefield, that can make all the difference."
Bavelier and her colleagues have proved this by carrying out a study in which a group of people who had not played video games previously were set to play either action offerings Call of Duty 2 and Unreal Tournament or slo-mo strategy yawnfest The Sims 2.
Afterwards, the study participants were asked to perform tasks against the clock in which they had to look or listen, decide what was happening and answer a simple question - for instance, is an erratically-moving group of dots migrating left or right. The action-games group were able to give answers significantly faster than the strategists, with no loss of accuracy.
According to Bavelier and her colleagues, the process of playing fast-moving action games trains the brain's natural processes of "probabilistic inference", the means whereby it can build a decision by rapidly and constantly collecting pieces of information.
"The brain is always computing probabilities," explains Bavelier. "As you drive, for instance, you may see a movement on your right, estimate whether you are on a collision course, and based on that probability make a binary decision: brake or don't brake."
The researchers' new study, Improved Probabilistic Inference as a General Learning Mechanism with Action Video Games, can be read here by subscribers to the journal Current Biology. ®
"Admitting you drive a motorbike automatically excludes you from complaining about other peoples driving, pal."
Actually most studies done have indicated that Motorcyclists make much better drivers, cause fewer accidents, and that most accidents involving motorcyclists are actually caused by another vehicle. Let us break this down:
"follows the car in front at a distance of no more than 6 inches from the nearside rear bumper"
Stopping distance for a bike is generally shorter than a car. Add to this a motorcyclist is generally higher than their car driving counterpart, giving a better view of traffic ahead. Hence they do not need to leave as great a stopping distance between them and the car in front.
Even ignoring that, there are plenty of motorcyclists, like myself, who actually leave more room in front than the average car driver due to the consequences if they are in an accident. Also, I seen plenty of cars driving right up the vehicle in front's exhaust pipe. You get bad road users in all classes of vehicle.
"the belief that its ok for you to overtake stationary traffic at a junction"
Actually this IS OK. It is mentioned in the highway code, and is known as filtering. So long as it is done at a sensible speed, with the awareness that other road users may not expect you to be there, there is no problem. See http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Highwaycode/DG_069854 (88)
I have of course seen motorcyclists filtering at what I would consider unsafe speeds on the motorway, but then again I have seen cars weaving in and out of traffic on the motorway at unsafe speeds, so once again it cuts both ways.
"the belief that ... the dividing chevrons on a dual carriageway are in fact an overtaking lane for motorcycles"
I agree that this is not a good idea, and is actually illegal if the lines surrounding it are solid, but once again I have seen cars do the same when circumstances allow, so you can not use it as a specific argument against the driving skills of motorcyclists.
Bottom line, Adam: Do not make sweeping generalisations about a group of people without having the facts. There are many good motorcyclists, and a few bad ones who give the rest of us a bad name. Many car drivers also see typical motorcyclist behaviour as dangerous purely because they do not know, having never ridden themselves. Of course there are many dickhead bikers out there, but there are also dickhead car/bus/lorry drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.
Ignorance of the Highway code...
...also excludes you from commenting!
"And did that happen because youre a typical motocyclist who follows the car in front at a distance of no more than 6 inches from the nearside rear bumper?"
And do you believe that's typical biker behaviour because it's the only time you ever notice them?
"Not forgetting of course the belief that its ok for you to overtake stationary traffic at a junction..."
It's called filtering. It's in the Highway Code. Not in a "You must not do this!" manner but in a "Be careful when you do this" advisory. Google it.
"...and that the dividing chevrons on a dual carriageway are in fact an overtaking lane for motorcycles."
I see plenty of vehicles of all classes that treat chevrons as a special extra lane, not just bikes.
I notice you don't mention the *cars* which tailgate motorcyclists like me at a distance so close that I first thought there was something wrong with my top box when I looked in my mirrors, only then to realise that there was a 4x4 sitting about ten feet from my rear wheel!
Nor do you mention the classic SMIDSY (Sorry Mate, I Didn't See You) as a motorist pulls out of a junction because they don't see the motorbike coming.
The DFTs own research states "Of the total cases, 681 (38%) involve ROWVs [Right of Way Violations]. However, less than 20% of these involve a motorcyclist who rated as either fully or partly to blame for the accident."
"the most common failure of other drivers in motorcycle accidents is a failure in the continuity of their observation of the road scene. Over 65% of ROWV accidents where the motorcyclist is not regarded as to blame involve a driver who somehow fails to see a motorcyclist who should be in clear view, and, indeed, frequently is in view to witnesses or other road users in the area."
"The main conclusions of our research are as follows:
"• A way must be found of targeting the other parties who so frequently cause motorcycle collisions. Drivers have to be made aware of the numerous ways that they can fail to perceive a motorcycle in the typical ROWV accidents that are most frequently not the fault of the rider involved. Our results suggest that interventions should be focused on (but not exclusively confined to) older drivers."
So before you start slagging off bikers, I suggest you consider the log in your own eye!