Action Video Game Lovers Learn Faster and Better: Study

Players of fast-paced action games like "Call of Duty" and "Titanfall" become better learners than those who play slower games, new research shows. The study, published in the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, identified a "surprisingly broad transfer of performance enhancements" in subjects assigned to play several dozen hours of action games over nine weeks. "In order to sharpen its prediction skills, our brains constantly build models, or 'templates,' of the world,” explained the University of Rochester's Daphne Bevelier in a news release. "The better the template, the better the performance. And now we know playing action video games actually fosters better templates."

Action gamers don't enter tasks with better templates than others, it seems, but they do build and tune those templates faster and more effectively — even on tasks very different from in-game ones. The games seem to train them not just in individual skills, but in the task of learning and applying such skills quickly. The researchers are now attempting to determine exactly what aspects of these games produces the effect.

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—Devin Coldewey