Video Games May Not Help In Cognitive Development After All
15. September 2011
By all accounts, video games have surged in popularity since the past few years, not only because of new advancements in technology, but also because of the positive attitude towards them these days. The phrase ‘Video games increase brain and cognitive development’ has been used so much that it has become a cliche and anybody who still feels video games are bad for the society is looked down upon as old or a social pariah. However, in spite of the so called health benefits of video games, a new study by the Florida state university has proved that video games do not really contribute to a person’s cognitive development. To make a long story short, the researchers of that institute are insinuating that religious and counter-cultural groups may be right about them after all!
Dr Walter Boot, who is the assistant professor at the institute, along with a joint collaboration by a few researchers from the university of Illinois, showed that all the media and pop culture hype about video games improving the gamers thinking and cognitive abilities are based on a flawed formula. These researchers feel that although there are some instances where gamers are known to have a better reasoning ability than non-gamers, it is only because these people were intellectually capable to begin with and got addicted to gaming later on, and not the other way around. To substantiate his point, Dr Boot claimed that every volunteer recruitment poster for video game experiments contain the words ‘ expert wanted’ which proves that these particular researchers were expecting the gamers to have developed cognitive skills beforehand.
In order to prove his point even further, in a past experiment with video gamers, Dr Boot and his colleagues recall that when they were running their own video game testing experiment, they realized that in spite of trying their best, no volunteer showed the promised ‘cognitive development’ and the experiment failed to keep up with the required standards, thus proving that the whole video game training methods is flawed where it is high time people do something about.
To get things clear right now, Dr Boot and his fellow researchers are not saying that video games are a danger to our society where they poison the mind of the gamers. All they are saying is that correlation does not relate to causation and people should think twice before coming to a conclusion of an experiment, as it would result in flawed and misrepresented conclusions. However, this is more of a wake up call to all those anti-conformist gamers who think that playing a video game will magically make them a smarter and a better person. As for all the video game researchers, it is high time they come up with better ways to experiment with video games.