Gaming and its effect on our brains has been studied for decades, and whilst many would have us believe it does nothing to make them healthier this is simply not the case. In fact, gaming in a variety of forms can improve our cognitive and rational functions. Here are three different types of games and how to play them to get your neurons fired up!
#1. Online Casino Games
Gambling has always been a hotly debated topic, especially when it comes to the way memory, strategy and emotional control are used in live poker games for example. This is why scientists have been conducting research into gambling for decades, and with the popularity of online casino games rising exponentially new benefits have been revealed.
For instance, research suggests that playing games like online slots and online bingo improves your hand-eye coordination significantly. To win these sorts of casino games, the player has to have quick reflexes and considerable mental dexterity. Not only is developing hand-eye coordination great for your daily life, but studies suggest that people who play online casino games are able to maintain these skills into old age.
As for online casino games like poker and blackjack, like their live counterparts they can improve our brain’s ability to strategize. This is also tied into players’ improved ability to make decisions, as these sorts of games require nimble yet tactical thinking.
#2. Video Games
Like online gambling, video games have been the focus of multiple studies over the years. Whilst some have assumed that video games can cause aggression and a reduced sense of reality, most studies actually reveal the positive effects video games can have the brain.
These beneficial aspects include improved problem-solving skills, as games usually have some forms of puzzles. Then there was a study conducted by the University of Rochester in 2010 that found gamers had superior decision making, analytical and thought-processing abilities in comparison to their non-gaming counterparts. This study’s researchers even went as far as to suggest games be used to train soldiers and surgeons as they would be able to make accurate decisions at a rapid rate.
Video games are already being used as a form of therapy, so the University of Rochester’s suggestion isn’t that farfetched. Researchers based at the Eating Disorders Unit of Bellvitge Hospital in Barcelona, Spain, encouraged girls suffering from bulimia nervosa to play PlayMancer. This is a biofeedback machine that reacts to the player’s stress levels and is more difficult to play the more stressed the individual becomes. By the end of their treatment, 89% of the girls had stopped binging and 100% had stopped purging completely.
Software developers were probably inspired by the proven positivise impact casino and video games have on our cognitive functions to create brain-training apps. Whilst other gaming platforms have studies conducted about them, gaming apps like Luminosity, CogniFit Brain Fitness and Personal Zen are often built upon the findings. Plenty of scientists and professors promote these sorts of apps, including Nadine Kaslow, PhD, vice chair at Emory University’s Department of Psychiatry and President of the American Psychological Association.
“We know that apps like Lumosity can improve memory, problem-solving skills and processing speed, especially in older adults,” Dr. Kaslow has stated. “There are also studies that show that people who engage in these video games are less likely to develop brain plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Keeping your mind active is as important as physical exercise and these apps can help you stay fit mentally.”
So whether it’s with a game of online poker, Tetris or a cognitive test conducted on the CogniFit Brain app, it’s time for you to get these neurons working!