FutureFive NZ - Study: First-person shooters develop sound decision-making skills

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Study: First-person shooters develop sound decision-making skills

Researchers from the University of Rochester in New York have concluded that action gamers, particularly first-person shooter gamers, are better at making quick and accurate decisions than those who do not play such games.

Daphne Bavelier, professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester, conducted a series of carefully controlled decision-making experiments on both gamers and non-gamers. Specifically, subjects were presented with a number of moving dots and asked to identify the direction in which they moved. Reportedly, action gamers were able to do so faster than non-gamers with a lesser impact on accuracy. Action gamers also performed similarly in auditory decision-making tests where a sound is played through either the left or right speaker in a pair of the headphones and the subject is asked to determine which side it came from.

"Unlike standard learning paradigms, which have a highly specific solution, there is no such specific solution in action video games because situations are rarely, if ever, repeated," said Bavelier. "Thus, the only characteristics that can be learned are how to rapidly and accurately learn the statistics on the fly and how to accumulate this evidence more efficiently."

Based on the research, Bavelier has also concluded that non-gamers who are forced to play action games for 50 hours also begin to develop an increased knack for fast and accurate decision making. It's also worth noting that, according to Bavelier, players of strategy and role-playing games were not as successful as first-person shooter gamers.

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