Could Video Games Boost a Child's Intelligence?

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By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, May 19, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Folks often judge that video games rot a kid's mind, but a caller survey argues the other could beryllium true.

Children really mightiness get a brain boost from playing hr aft hr of video games, researchers report.

American kids betwixt 9 and 10 years of property who spent much clip playing video games experienced a important summation successful their quality scores erstwhile retested 2 years aboriginal -- amounting to an other 2.5 IQ points supra the average.

"Children who played much video games were the ones experiencing the astir gains successful quality aft 2 years," researchers concluded successful their paper, which was precocious published successful the diary Scientific Reports. "This is grounds of a beneficial causal effect of video games connected cognition."

Other forms of surface clip -- watching videos oregon chatting connected societal media -- had neither a affirmative nor antagonistic effect connected a kid's intelligence, the researchers found. The survey received nary backing from the video crippled industry.

"We didn't analyse the effects of surface behaviour connected physical activity, sleep, well-being oregon schoolhouse performance, truthful we can't accidental thing astir that," elder researcher Torkel Klingberg, a prof of cognitive neuroscience astatine the Karolinska Institute successful Stockholm, said successful an institute quality release.

"But our results enactment the assertion that surface clip mostly doesn't impair children's cognitive abilities, and that playing video games tin really assistance boost intelligence," Klingberg said. "This is accordant with respective experimental studies of video-game playing."

Higher scores

For this study, Klingberg and his colleagues analyzed information connected much than 9,000 boys and girls participating successful a semipermanent U.S.-funded survey of encephalon improvement and kid health.

At ages 9 to 10, the kids underwent a artillery of intelligence tests to gauge their wide encephalon power. They were besides asked however overmuch clip they spent watching TV and videos, playing video games, and engaging with societal media.

On average, the kids spent 2.5 hours a time watching TV, a half-hour connected societal media, and 1 hr playing video games.

Two years later, conscionable implicit 5,000 of the children repeated the intelligence tests, to spot however their quality had changed.

Results showed that kids who played much than the mean hr of video games regular coiled up with higher quality scores than kids who spent little clip with a crippled controller.

That summation remained important adjacent aft researchers accounted for different factors specified arsenic differences successful household income and parental education.

Active vs. passive

Video games mightiness marque kids smarter by making them think, providing "enriched" environments that necessitate them to tackle tasks they mightiness not brushwood successful their day-to-day lives, said Dr. Anish Dube, a subordinate of the American Psychological Association’s Council connected Children, Adolescents and their Families.

"Playing video games often requires progressive strategizing, readying and enforcement decision-making," said Dube, who wasn't portion of the study.

"The much idiosyncratic practices oregon plays these video games, the much they reenforce the neural pathways progressive successful accomplishing the objectives of the crippled -- and those aforesaid neural pathways whitethorn beryllium progressive successful different types of real-world decision-making that origin into our measures of intelligence," helium said.

By the aforesaid token, TV watching and societal media engagement are much passive forms of surface clip that don't necessitate arsenic overmuch encephalon work, said Dube, an subordinate prof of psychiatry astatine Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science successful Los Angeles.

"Video games by plan necessitate absorption and attraction to the contented presented and strategizing successful the moment, whereas it's casual to ticker thing connected tv without paying overmuch attraction to the content," Dube said. "If you ticker a conception connected tv and miss something, you bash not 'lose' and tin inactive infer the missed parts based connected the remaining narrative. This would beryllium harder to bash with video games."

Dube noted that the survey doesn't code what, if any, enactment these factors person with the affectional and mental health of young radical -- thing successful which he's funny arsenic a psychiatrist.

"Does video gaming correlate with amended intelligence wellness aft 2 years? Does the betterment successful quality besides correlate with an betterment successful intelligence health?" helium said.

Giving kids options

Another adept successful kid improvement agreed that a person look astatine intelligence wellness whitethorn beryllium needed.

Dr. Damon Korb said the survey was designed to lone look astatine imaginable affirmative benefits related to intelligence. It didn't see the imaginable antagonistic wellness effects from video gaming that person been recovered successful different probe –an summation successful the hazard for depression and anxiousness among gamers; a hampering of the motorboat into adulthood; ase good arsenic carnal ills specified arsenic obesity.

“Clinical acquisition shows important negatives besides are associated with gaming,” said Korb, who directs the Center for Developing Minds successful Los Gatos, Ca. “I deliberation everyone should instrumentality caution erstwhile looking astatine these results.”

And helium stressed that if you privation your kids to get an quality boost, video games aren't the lone option.

The study's authors "don’t comparison gaming to things similar playing chess oregon soft lessons oregon array tennis, which each person studies indicating immoderate affirmative cognitive payment arsenic well,” Korb noted. “And connected apical of that, games are designed to beryllium addicting -- they’re designed for kids to beryllium and bash much and much and more, and that is perchance unsafe and unhealthy.”

Still, Dube praised the survey for trying to "take a much nuanced attack to measuring the effect of surface clip connected young people, alternatively than treating each surface clip arsenic 1 homogenous stimulus with the aforesaid cosmopolitan effect."

But helium agreed that parents should support a adjacent oculus connected the benignant and prime of their children's surface time.

"If a definite signifier of surface clip appears to person a affirmative effect connected a young person's well-being, parents should stay unfastened and funny astir this, conscionable successful the aforesaid mode arsenic if they statesman to announcement that determination is simply a harmful effect of definite surface clip connected their child," Dube noted.

"As children grow, their developmental needs change, and apt truthful excessively the quantity and prime of the surface clip that they volition payment from oregon that would beryllium detrimental to them," helium said.

More information

The American Academy of Pediatrics has much astir creating a household media plan.

SOURCES: Anish Dube, MD, MPH, subordinate professor, psychiatry, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, Los Angeles; Karolinska Institute, quality release, May 12, 2022; Damon Korb, MD, director, Center for Developing Minds, Los Gatos, Ca.; Scientific Reports, May 12, 2022