Feeds

Young blokes blinded by video-game addiction: THE FACTS

DARPA-funded eggheads' amazing discovery

Boost IT visibility and business value

"You'll go blind!" many a parent have barked at their sons and daughters for playing video games all day. But military-funded scientists have proved quite the opposite is true.

Eggheads at Duke School of Medicine have claimed that gamers are better at processing visual information due to the quick reactions they've built up from years of bedroom head-shots. (That's not a euphemism.)

The research was funded by grants from the Army Research Office, the Department of Homeland Security, US boffinry nerve-centre DARPA and, er, shoemaker Nike. The American military has been interested in video-game addicts for some time because skilled players can be trained to become excellent drone pilots.

"Gamers see the world differently," said Greg Appelbaum, assistant professor of psychiatry at Duke. "They are able to extract more information from a visual scene."

Ahead of conducting the study, he found it almost impossible to recruit college students who didn't play action games, but persevered to build up a group of 125 participants, some of whom rarely switched on a console or capable PC, some of whom were total addicts.

Each subject took part in a visual memory task, designed to test how well they could recall information they had just seen for the first time. The academics flashed a circular arrangement of eight letters at their guinea pigs for about one tenth of a second. After a delay between 13 milliseconds and 2.5 seconds, an arrow appeared on the screen and the subjects were asked which letter had appeared in that spot.

Keen gamers beat their sociable rivals, suggesting regular players respond to visual stimuli much more quickly. This is down to skills developed by playing games, particularly first-person shooters that require gamers to make quick decisions about what to blast every second, or so we're told.

Appelbaum claimed that over time, players' ability to process visual stimuli continues to sharpen.

"They need less information to arrive at a probabilistic conclusion, and they do it faster," he said.

Both gamers and non-gamers lost their memory of the letters quickly because the human brain discarded any unused information soon after it was recieved. Yet it seems that gamers gathered more visual data as soon as it appeared, allowing them to more strongly remember the shape and positions of the letters.

Dismissing the possibility that regular game players were able to retain memories for longer, the prof added that gamers were also able to make quicker and more accurate decisions than non-gamers.

The researchers now want to gather data from MRI scans to see exactly what's happening inside gamers' grey matter.

A paper about the study, titled Action video game playing is associated with improved visual sensitivity, but not alterations in visual sensory memory, written by L. Gregory Appelbaum, Matthew Cain, Elise Darling and Stephen Mitroff was published in the June edition of the journal Attention, Perception & Psychophysics. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?