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Study Reveals Video Gamers May Be Better at Probabilistic Learning

Roger Clarke, Hinsdale

A tennis professional in the Chicago suburb of Hinsdale, Illinois, Roger Clarke works with clients of all ages at LaGrange Country Club and Hinsdale Racquet Club. In his free time, Roger Clarke enjoys playing video games.

A recent study published by journal Behavioural Brain Research revealed that playing video games may improve cognition and learning.

Completed by researchers at Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany, the study looked at 17 video gamers, who played at least 15 hours per week of action-based video games, as well as 17 non-gamers. Each group was given a weather prediction test that involved looking at three cue cards. Each card had a different pattern that meant a specific percentage of sun or rain. Based on the patterns, participants were tasked with predicting the weather while researchers recorded their brain activity using an MRI.
All participants completed this task repeatedly with varying combinations of cue cards. Based on the results, researchers discovered that video gamers outperformed non-gamers in correctly predicting weather outcomes. This occurred was because gamers retained more of the factual information about the combinations of cue cards and the weather outcomes that were associated with each pattern.
Although researchers are unsure about the specific mechanisms involved in this occurrence, they did find that gamers had more brain activity in the hippocampus and other areas associated with visual imagery, cognitive control, and semantic memory.

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