In the last century, there was a stereotype that playing computer games was unhealthy. It soon became clear that the opposite was true. There is a wealth of research that shows a variety of effects on mental development in action game players, from improving problem-solving skills to improving learning . Now there is another study. It turns out that in addition to all the known benefits, video games also improve memory ! However, in this case we are talking only about 3D games. In contrast, standard 2D games with passive and simple backgrounds have little or no effect on the brain’s ability to form memories. To test the effect of gaming on memory formation, researchers at the University of California at Irvine asked non-gamer students to play 30 minutes a day for two weeks.
The students played one of two games: Super Mario 3D World, with an intricate virtual game space, and Angry Birds, with a simple two-dimensional environment. Before and after the experiment, subjects passed memory tests with object recognition. These tests use the hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for complex learning and memory. As a result, those students who played Super Mario 3D World improved their test scores by a significant 12%. The efficiency of brain activity in a person between the age of 45 and 70 is reduced by about that much. At the same time, there was no significant improvement in the results of Angry Birds players. The authors of the scientific work explain that in the three-dimensional world there is more spatial information that the brain must process. They are more complex, which facilitates learning. Both stimulate the hippocampus. Angry Birds is a fairly simple game, so it’s no surprise that players have little or no brain development. It is possible that the effect of improving memory will manifest itself in gamers in more complex 2D games. Experts are now debating whether video games can be used to improve the functioning of the hippocampus, including reducing its functional deficits as a person grows older and older. Should we introduce mandatory Counter-Strike sessions in nursing homes? This topic should be investigated in more detail.