Ever since gaming became a household hobby, there have been conflicting opinions on just how mentally beneficial it can be. To this day, there are some groups of people that believe playing games is a hobby reserved for the socially inept and awkward, and yet eSports is slowly but surely becoming a viable activity that may one day rival more traditional sports that are accepted and respected worldwide, such as football, tennis, and cricket. Moreover, more studies are being released now that prove gaming can improve our minds in a variety of ways.
By far the most thoroughly proven benefits of playing games so far are all cognitive. This includes proof that gaming can improve basic visual processes such as visual contrast sensitivity, as well as successfully treat amblyopia, aka ‘lazy eye’. Improved spatial awareness, an increased ability to track moving objects, and even improvements in literacy difficulties like dyslexia have also been recorded. Multitasking, executive functioning, and memory are also proven to be improved as a result of playing games, particularly those that fall within the action or strategy genres.
While most studies are carried out using console games, those of us without a PlayStation or Xbox are not lost causes. For example, over the last two decades, more evidence has come out to support the idea that even online casino gaming can be beneficial for our brains. Many of these games, especially slots, are well-designed with intricate sound design, and playing them is thought to have a positive impact on cognitive processes such as memory and retaining information. This is because playing slots, whether it be something based on a movie you like such as the Bridesmaids slots or a classic like Rainbow Riches, requires you to memorise paylines, analyse patterns, and solve problems in very small amounts of time.
Mobile games should also be mentioned as they are thought to have a similar impact on our brains and are swiftly becoming just as popular as the older gaming genres. The games available in smartphone app stores offer up similar fun-filled elements as casino games, with cartoony, vibrant games like Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, and Toon Blast attracting thousands of happy players. They may look like simple fun at first glance, but just like slots, they require a lot more cognitive processing, which can boost your memory, problem-solving skills, and reaction times.
Behavioural and Emotional Impacts
As for behavioural and emotional benefits caused by gaming, more research is being conducted every single day. Already, action games have been proven to reduce impulsive behaviours in a 2009 study published in Current Directions in Psychological Science. In addition to this, a recent study conducted by the University of Oxford found that gaming does not have a negative effect on gamers’ minds and emotions, something that anti-gaming media has been attempting to prove for decades now.
With all of this information in mind, it seems that gaming is a great way to boost our brain function in a myriad of ways. Whether you want to improve your mood or memory, there’s a game out there to help you.