Parents often worry about the harmful effects of video games on their children, from mental health and social problems to missing out on exercise.
But a major new US study published in Open JAMA Network on Monday said there may also be cognitive benefits associated with a popular pastime.
Lead author Bader Chaarani, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Vermont, told AFP he was naturally drawn to the topic as a keen gamer with expertise in neuroimaging. .
Previous research has focused on adverse effects, linking gaming with depression and increased aggression.
However, these studies were limited by the relatively small number of participants, especially those involving brain imaging, Charaani said.
For the new study, Chaarani and colleagues analyzed data from the large and ongoing Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study, funded by the National Institutes of Health.
They looked at survey responses, cognitive test results and brain imaging from about 2,000 nine- and ten-year-olds, divided into two groups: those who had never played the game and those who had played the game since. three or more hours per day.
This threshold was chosen because it exceeds the American Academy of Pediatrics’ device time guideline of one or two hours of video games for children. older kids.
Shock and memory
Each group was evaluated in two tasks.
The first involved seeing arrows pointing left or right, with the children being asked to click left or right as quickly as they could.
They were also asked not to press anything if they saw a “stop” signal, to measure how well they could control their impulses.
In the second task, they were shown people’s faces, and then asked if a subsequent picture shown later matched, in a test of their working memory.
After using Statistical methods to control for variables that could skew the results, such as parental income, IQ scores and mental health symptoms, the team found video player performed consistently better on both tasks.
As they performed the tasks, the children’s brains were scanned using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The brains of video players showed more activity in regions associated with attention and memory.
“The result raises the intriguing possibility that video games may provide a cognitive training experience with measurable neurocognitive effects,” the authors conclude in their paper.
It’s currently unknown whether better cognitive performance drives more gaming or is a result of it, Chaarani said.
The team hopes to get clearer answers as the study continues, and they revisit similar children at an older age.
This will also help rule out other potential factors at play, such as children family environmentexercise and sleep quality.
Future studies may also benefit from knowing what kind of games children are playing — albeit at 10 years old. kids tends to favor action games like Fortnite or Assassin’s Creed.
But he said the results showed video games can be a better use of device time than watching videos on YouTube, which has no obvious cognitive effects.
B Chaarani et al. Video games may be associated with better cognitive performance in children, Open JAMA Network (In 2022). DOI: 10.1001 / jamanetworkopen.2022.35721
© 2022 AFP
Quote: Video games can improve children’s brains: study (2022, 29 October) retrieved 29 October 2022 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-10-video-games -kids-brains.html
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