Can gaming improve your mental skills?

In a study including both professional gamers and casual players, researchers compared important cognitive gaming skills between the two groups. They selected one group of professional players from competitive leagues and another group of casual players who mainly played to have fun.

Professional players demonstrated significantly improved selective and sustained attention, handling multiple pieces of information simultaneously.

Testing the players

Both groups underwent several tests, focusing on their mental abilities. The tests were designed to measure cognitive functions, including how quickly they could process information, how good there were to remember information and how much focus they could attain.

After completing the tests, the results go analyzed and compared to determine areas of strength and weakness in each group. They paid particular attention to where the professional players performed better than the casual gamers.

The results

One interesting discovery was that professional players demonstrated significantly improved selective and sustained attention. They were much better at handling multiple pieces of information at once and maintained a consistent level of focus throughout the tasks. These skills are especially valuable in high-pressure situations where you need to process a lot of information quickly.

The study also highlighted a better performance by pro players in visual-spatial memory. They were especially better at remembering and recalling visual locations in a forward sequence. This skill is especially useful for remembering map layouts, anticipating enemy positions, and navigating the environment effectively.

Improved mental skills

  • Enhanced selective and sustained attention.
  • Superior visual spatial memory.
  • Improved auditory working memory.

In terms of auditory working memory, which involved listening to sequences of numbers and repeating them back in order or reverse, the professionals again outperformed the casual players. This skill translates into remembering and processing the information you get from your teammates and surroundings. When you remember more about what happens around you, it becomes easier to put the right pieces together to make the right strategic decisions.

Round up

So, can gaming improve your mental skills? Yes, gaming can enhance your selective and sustained attention, enabling you to handle multiple pieces of information better. It also helps you become more proficient at remembering and recalling information you have seen or heard.

It’s worth noting that the study also investigated other skills such as processing speed, executive function, and motor skills but didn’t find a significant difference between the two groups. The primary reason was the nature of the tests used and the specific skill sets of the players.

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Benoit, J. J., Roudaia, E., Johnson, T., Love, T., & Faubert, J. (2020). The neuropsychological profile of professional action video game players.