You want to get better at life? Play Video Games

You want to get better at life? Play Video Games

Think about it. It does make sense. Through playing various video games we train and improve reaction speed, retention, multi-tasking capabilities, even socialise more, and do so more effectively than in real life! Want to know more? Read on.

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These are all claims, and mostly unsubstantial ones. But claims such as these are made in all seriousness, and this is problematic. Claims about video games is today’s topic, welcome.

These days, there are a lot of ideas and general speculation as to how video games affect its players. Just about anyone has some idea about games effects, whether they be positive or negative. I have in a previous post touched upon video games and aggression, and how, many people believe violent video games translate into more aggressive behaviour from today’s youth. As I mentioned in that post there is very little evidence to back up such claims, and conclusions are largely speculative and thereby coloured by personal opinion. So let me say this very clearly: Scientific research is NOT necessarily unbiased and objective. Especially conclusions can show a certain degree of bias, when reading research articles, but also the selection of data and research methods can impact results dramatically and swing them one way or the other. So long story short, never blindly trust something just because it comes from a scientific journal.

I have most often practised this concerning research that paints a negative picture of video game playing, but it is time to broaden the perspective. As you read in the beginning of this post, there are plenty of claims as to the positive effects of video games, but not many of them have any substantial evidence to back them up.

This is largely due to the immaturity of the research. In other words, video games have not been around for long, so research into video games has not had enough time to develop and test its theories in a satisfactory manner. But there are ideas, claims and theories, and these are all currently being tested around the world, so we should slowly but surely edge closer towards more certain knowledge as to the effects of video game playing.

Professor Andrew Przybylsk addresses this quite nicely in a radio interview on BBC Radio 5, where he talks about the various possible effects video games could have, but he avoids stating anything as a sure fact. Amongst other things he talks about how his own research has indicated that in lab environments Tetris actually makes people more aggressive than Grand Theft Auto (which is known as a game with a lot of violence). Key words here are lab environment. This indicates his awareness of the difference between what occurs in a lab, and how we might react in a real life environment. I personally applaud this type of caution in a field where far too much uncertain speculation is stated as simple fact, such as “Video games makes you smarter”, or “Video games improve your reaction speed”. Click here  to see the interview with Przybylsk.

Just to summarize, I urge for more caution when it comes to making claims concerning video games. Of course we should keep talking about the effects of video games, as it is a very relevant topic, but simply avoid unsubstantiated “objective” claims.

That is all for now, thanks for reading.

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