Children Who Play Video Games Have Better Cognitive Outcomes, Study Finds

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Children who play video games have better cognitive results, study finds

Children who played more than three hours of video games performed better on cognitive tests than children who did not play video games.

While it's common for parents to worry about the possible harmful consequences of video games on their children, a large study published Monday in the journal JAMA Network Open indicates that this popular hobby may have cognitive benefits.

Previous studies have focused on the negative effects of video games, such as depression or increased aggression. But such research is limited by low participation rates, especially those that use brain imaging, according to the study's lead author, Bader Chaarani, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the x27;University of Vermont.

With his colleagues, he analyzed data from the large study on the cognitive development of the adolescent brain (ABCD, in English), funded by the American Institutes of Health (NIH).

This duration was chosen because it exceeds the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation of one or two hours of video games for older children.

Both groups had to perform two tasks. For the first, arrows pointing left or right were shown to the children, who had to click on the corresponding button as quickly as possible.

If a sign “stop ” was displayed, no buttons had to be pressed, a way of measuring the ability of young people to control themselves.

For the second task, they were shown a first face, then later a second, and the child had to say if it corresponded to the same person, this time testing their working memory, a short-term memory.< /p>

After correcting for certain statistical biases related to, among other things, parental income, intelligence quotient and mental health symptoms, the research team discovered that children playing video games performed systematically better on their tasks.

During the tests, the children's brains were observed through precise imaging techniques. Those of male and female gamers showed more activity in areas of the brain associated with attention and memory.

The results raise the interesting possibility that video games provide a cognitive learning experience with measurable neurocognitive effects, conclude the people who sign this study.

There is no #x27;However, it is not yet possible to know whether better cognitive performance leads to more play, or whether it is the fact of playing more that improves this performance, according to Bader Chaarani.

His team hopes to obtain a clearer answer with the continuation of the study when the children are older.

This will also make it possible to exclude x27;other variables such as children's home environment, physical activity, and quality of sleep.

Too much screen time is of course overall bad for mental health and physical activity, notes Bader Chaarani.

But his results show that the Video games might be a better use of that screen time than watching videos on YouTube, for example, which has no detectable cognitive effects, according to the researcher.

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