Most of us have played one game or another, at some stage of our lives. The world might be divided into cultures and distances. Yet, certain things have remained constant among all. And the popularity of video games is one of them.
Apart from being a great way to catch a break from concerns of your everyday life, playing video games has various other benefits as well.
One of the many advantages of playing video games is their role in improving your motor skills. For instance, video games have the power to improve hand eye coordination. Many people contend this school of thought. However, various research proves that games do improve hand-eye coordination.
The University of Toronto Study
In 2014, researchers at the University of Toronto conducted a study to gauge the effect of video games on gamers. The experiment was conducted on two groups of people.
The first group consisted of those who played first-person shooter games daily. The other group had people who hadn’t played video games for at least two years. In other words, it was a battle between gamers and non-gamers!
In the first experiment, each participant was asked to use a computer mouse to keep a virtual object at the centre of a continuously moving target. It was observed that while both groups did poorly at the beginning of the exercise, gamers eventually became better at it. On the other hand, the same was not observed in non-gamers.
The study concluded that while gamers might not have an initial advantage when it comes to learning new hand-eye coordination tasks, they were much more receptive to learning it than non-gamers.
David DiSalvo, a senior contributor at Forbes, further sheds light on the phenomena. Yet another study was conducted in 2014 to assess the connection between video games and motor skills in adolescents.
Researchers studied brains of over 152 adolescents. This included both males and females. Each of the participants played an average of over 12.6 hours’ worth of video games every week.
It was discovered that those who played excessive video games tend to have enhanced cortical thickness in a few parts of their brains. This included the left frontal eye field as well as the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.
What does cortical thickness mean? Well, it points to a better brain cell connection. It translates to have a better memory function and the ability to make complex decisions with ease. Moreover, the front eye field is the area that is linked explicitly with processing visual and motor information.
In other words, this is the part of the brain that allows us to process external stimuli and make judgments about how to react accordingly. Hand-eye coordination is one of the many parts of this process.
This study might not prove that hand-eye coordination is directly proportional to the number of hours a person plays video games. However, it does point at a strong correlation between the two. One can say that even if video games don’t cause better hand-eye coordination, they certainly play a role in achieving it.
The Rosser Impact
One thing is for sure- no profession requires precise hand-eye coordination as much as surgeons do. In this occupation, there is a lot at stake. One wrong or slow move can end up having detrimental effects.
In 2007, research was conducted on surgeons to see the effect of playing video games on their laparoscopic skills. Generally, it is understood that warming up before surgery can help in improving focus and performance.
In the 2007 study, the warming up exercise was restricted to playing video games before conducting a procedure. The study took insights from an estimate of 300 surgeons. All participants were divided into two groups. This included a control group and an experimental group.
Those that were in the experimental group were asked to play three video games for a total of six minutes before their procedures. Mock procedures were conducted after playing the games. This included suturing and Cobra Rope.
It was discovered that those belonging to the experimental group completed the Cobra rope drill at a faster rate than the control group. Moreover, their suture score was also somewhat better than the control group.
Again, this study showcased that video games tend to boost hand-eye coordination in terms of speed as well as precision.
Are action games the only genre that improves hand eye coordination?
One interesting thing to note here is that most research studies used action games to prove their point. This raises another argument. While games do improve hand-eye coordination, is this benefit only limited to action games?
Well, more study needs to be conducted to solidify this statement. However, when you consider the mechanics of it all, one can say that any game that requires focus, quick thinking and hand-eye coordination is bound to improve the skill as well.
Therefore, you could be playing a simple game like Bouncing Letters by Unlimited Gamez Mo and still end up improving your motor skills. It all depends on whether the game you are playing requires quick thinking and strategizing or not.
To say that action is the only genre that improves hand-eye coordination would be wrong. On the other hand, claiming other genres work just as well will also be a bold statement. Without research, we can only assume!
Verdict: Yes, Gaming Helps!
A lot of us spend hours after hours in front of our desktops and play stations. And we get a lot of slack for it from our parents as well. Nothing is good for you when it consumes your life. However, in moderation, video games are much more beneficial for you than you, and your loved ones think they are!
Next time someone tells you to stop playing a video game, you can quote them all the mentioned studies to prove its benefits. However, as you do so, make sure you are playing games where these benefits actually apply.
Do you think your motor skills have improved for the better because of games like Counter-Strike and Call of Duty? Share your experience with us!
Author Bio: Michelle Joe is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences, and express herself through her blogs. You can find her on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook
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