Counteracting years of criticism from people who judged their screen-plastered lifestyle as useless and childish, science has proven that being a winning gamer is a sign of a better functioning brain.
A recent study published in Scientific Reports tested the cognitive function of “action video gamers” (AVGs) of different levels of expertise. The study, led by Dezhong Yao, involved having 27 expert gamers and 30 amateur gamers play games that required hand–eye coordination and reaction-time. MRI scans were taken of the gamers’ brains, focusing on a region called the insular cortex, which is associated with perception, motor control and cognitive function.
Results showed that the better the gamer’s skill, the greater functional connectivity in their brain hemispheres. The image below portrays the left and right brain hemispheres and the regions that indicated enhanced connectivity in experienced gamers.
The left hemisphere, often associated with calculation and logic, showed the most improvement among gamers. In addition to connectivity, the superior gamers also displayed greater amounts of grey matter in their brains than amateurs, particularly in the left insular cortex and the central insular sulcus. Grey matter is involved in processing information in the brain.
The next time you want to criticize your child for spending too much time playing video games, remember that for every minute in front of the PS2 or Xbox, their brain is getting more pimped out.