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“Working memory of shooter game players more flexible”

The working memory of people who frequently play first-person shooters or action games, is more flexible than that of people who do not play these types of games. Avid players are able to better adapt to auditory and visual information he / she receives, states Dr. Lorenza Colzato.

She studied this on behalf of the University of Leiden. A total of 52 subjects divided into two groups of gamers and non-gamers, with an average age of 23 years, with an IQ that was similar for both groups.

The two groups were given two different tasks. On display were random letters shown and players had to tell if the third letter was the same as the first, fourth the same as the second, and so on. "We saw in the results that gamers performed better than non-gamers in the task and in particular the task where they had to remember the letter back two steps," said Pim Bakker, who helped to carry out the experiment.

The second test involved quick reaction time, subjects were asked to specify which direction the arrow on the screen pointed, by pressing the corresponding button. Bakker: "The challenge is primarily in that the arrow can change from green to red. If that's the case, then the subject must not press the button. You’ll have to control your impulse to press the button to the right moment."

The final results showed that both gamers and non-gamers performed equally well. Bakker: “It was striking that both gamers and non-gamers did not perform significantly better. This can indicate that gamers are not more impulsive than non-gamers.”

The study was conducted in response to the negative media coverage about first-person shooters. These are often referred to as (partial) cause of example shootings. "That discussion is still ongoing and further research is needed to confirm or reject. Our goal was not (...) to refute the negative influence of video gaming but only to examine whether playing FPS games can also contribute to our cognitive functions in everyday life. And whether video gaming is a fun, quick and easy way to improve and train your memory."

Source: Psychological Research