Take That, Mom!
A new study published in the journal, Psychological Science, suggests that your vision can be improved by playing a couple of hours of video games a day. So instead of those carrots, maybe some Grand Theft Auto will be a more enjoyable way to have better eyesight.
University of Rochester professor Daphne Bavelier and Shawn Green, a forth-year graduate student in brain and cognitive sciences have spent the better part of four years studying the effects of video games on different aspects of visual acuity. This latest study shows that video gamers can pick out letters and shapes faster and more correctly than non-gamers.
The study shows improved performance in subjects when it came to visual acuity and peripheral vision. According to the APA website, subjects were chosen from the limited number of college students that did not play video games. Those students were then divided in half, given a battery of visual tests, and then played video games for several hours a day for 30 days. Half of the group played Unreal Tournament, an action first-person shooter game, and the other half played Tetris. The same tests were then given, with the gamers getting 80% of the testing questions correct, versus the 30% that the Tetris players answered correctly.
The researchers determined that the action game lead to a 20% increase in visual acuity, according to Science Daily. Professor Bavelier was quoted saying that “these games push the human visual system to the limit and the brain adapts to it.”
These finding could be good news for anyone who suffers from visual cortex damage, such as stroke patients, and also those who suffer from lazy eye, or an amblyopic condition. The video games seem to have a more palpable effect than other passive media, such as TV or movies, even those with excessive action. Like the video game, Unreal Tournament. The researchers feel that the interactive nature of the video games trains the eyes to pick out objects better and faster than watching action movies.
Other scientists are studying the effects of video games on aspects of human vision and are finding similarly positive results. Alan Castel, a professor of Psychology at UCLA, is studying how video games affect the visual searching process. Using computer games and simulations are also used in the training of air traffic controllers and pilots, but current research is trying to find a more practical and universal benefit for those suffering from visual problems. So far, the benefits of the video games are not long lasting, but further research could prove otherwise.