Study: Video games help quicken reflexes

Study: Video games help quicken reflexes

August 4, 2005

6 On Your Side Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- If you may think your children are wasting summer vacation inside playing video games you may not want them to see this story.

They may have a point to argue when you tell them it's time to put that joystick away.

A surgeon at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York conducted a study that found that surgeons who play video games make fewer errors in the operating room.

As part of the study, psychologist Alan Castel of Washington University recruited gamers and non-gamers, and gave both groups the same task of identifying a particular object on a screen.

"Video game players had faster reaction times on the order of 100 milliseconds, which might not sound like a lot but in this domain it's quite a strong finding," said Castel. "And you can imagine when driving, a difference of 100 milliseconds could really help you avoid accidents."

Of course, research also shows that playing too often might lead to bad grades or even aggressive behavior. So moderation is the key.

The study does not show that people who play video games perform their visual searches differently. They just do it faster.

And in case you're wondering, the video game industry did not pay for this study. A Canadian research center did.

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