Gamers Do It Faster (And Just As Good)

July 11, 2013

Eva Gusnowski

Reaction times are the pinnacle of survival, barring any kind of cataclysmic event that threatens the world, of course. Maybe if the dodo bird was just a little bit faster, it would be more than just a joke for every nerd with a science blog to use. Unfortunately, many of us are slow, too slow in fact to win at knuckles or to understand that, yes, that bird is going to poop on you.

You know who does do it faster? Gamers.

In 2009, Matthew Dye and his colleagues took a look at people who play action video games and tried to understand if they had faster reaction times than those who did not play action video games, which they did indeed find. They determined that video gamers had quicker reaction times and faster processing speeds than those who did not play games on tasks that were totally unrelated to the video game that was played. They also found that the gamers made just as few mistakes as those who do not play video games, meaning that they still maintained the same level of accuracy despite being faster and making quicker judgment calls.


They even found that they were able to use action video games as a means to train non-gamers in an effort to increase their reaction time and processing speeds. Increased reaction times have even been previously correlated to an increased performance in higher cognitive function tests.  So despite all of the controversy regarding violent video games and the creation of violent children, or the other controversial theory that army video games serve as propaganda to encourage kids to join the army, action video games could serve as a legit method to train our brains.

So I’m sorry to tell this to all of the moms and dads out there, but your kids aren’t actually just wasting their time playing video games. They’re simply in brain-training.



Thanks Mario!  You're a champ!



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