For years, we’ve heard that video games are guilty of creating a generation of inattentive and violent youth wasting away their time on mindless entertainment. Yet a wave of new studies has thrown cold water on that theory and drawn some conclusions about the benefits of gaming. While the findings of the studies are mixed, it appears that playing video games regularly can lead to improvements in creativity, decision-making, perception, hand-eye coordination and even enhanced night vision.
As always with new scientific research, we should be hesitant to draw conclusions too quickly. One of the studies found a link between compulsive gaming and obesity and depression, while another found that playing violent video games can affect brain function after just one week, “depressing activity among regions associated with emotional control.” Scientists seem to have no idea whether games are ultimately good for you or not.
Regular readers of Via Meadia will not be surprised by this ambiguity. Even the sturdiest scientific theories can be upended by new research. No science is ever fully settled. This is no exception.