Playing games has many different positive effects. It is a way to relax and have fun. There are also cognitive, motivational, emotional and social benefits.
Games can the concentration and attentions improve. This applies more to action games, such as shooter games, than to slower games, such as puzzle or role playing games. In action games, the gamer must be able to think ahead, be alert and respond quickly. In particular, the visual selective attention improves (being able to focus on a task and resist distractions or unimportant incentives). This can already be seen after a game session of one hour. Through improved attention, gamers are also likely to be quicker in learning new skills in daily life. 2 In addition, there are also indications that action games improve sustained attention (focused attention for longer periods of time) and response time. This means that gamers can respond faster during long tasks than non-gamers, while they are just as accurate. Moreover, cognitive flexibility is trained by playing action games. This allows someone to quickly adapt to changes and to be able to switch between tasks quickly.
Playing action games is linked to improved spatial skills, also outside of the game context. Spatial insight is important in subjects such as mathematics, technology and surgery, but also in daily life. Most games require a combination of visual perception and fine motor skills. Gamers thereby train their hand-eye coordination and motor skills.
Gamers also improve their problem-solving skills, especially when playing strategy games. Games often give few instructions for solving a problem, which means that gamers themselves have to explore possible solutions. Here are analytical ability, planning, perseverance and designing solution strategies important. Finally, playing games is linked to increased creativity. This applies to all genres.
Games are highly motivating. Game features such as flow, clear goals, rewards and direct feedback, and an increasing difficulty level motivate you to keep playing. The difficulty level in games often adapts to the skills of the gamer, so there is an optimal balance between challenges and frustration on the one hand and sufficient experience of success and rewards on the other. Gamers quickly experience being good at something, and receive. As a result, self-confidence increases, gamers experience more competence and they learn new skills faster. Gamers learn to deal with failure, challenges and success. This enhances the perseverance. The belief that despite failure experiences with practice you can get better at something can have positive effects in other areas of life, such as at school and at work.
An important advantage of gaming is that it gives pleasure and can raise positive emotions. For example, research shows that playing short puzzle games (such as Angry Birds and Bejeweled) can improve mood, bring relaxation and reduce stress. Sonic The Hedgehog Movie Gets An All New Super Bowl Trailer Packed With Sports Stars. Various game features contribute to this, such as rewards and feedback and social interaction with other gamers. Gamers often experience intense pride after winning. In addition, flow positive emotional experience that is described by gamers. Experiencing flow is associated in research with more involvement and performance at school, more self-confidence and less anxiety.
In addition to positive emotions, games also provoke negative emotions, such as frustration, anger, fear and sadness. Gamers learn to handle their emotions more efficiently and flexibly. This way you have a better chance of achieving a level with the thought ‘everyone loses sometimes’, than with the conviction ‘it makes no sense, I will never succeed’. In games, effective emotion regulation strategies are rewarded, such as acceptance, problem solving, and being able to look at the situation differently (revaluation). There are always new challenges and sometimes the avatar is also changed. This requires the gamer to re-evaluate the situation from a different perspective.
Gaming is an easy way to get in touch with people of all ages and from different parts of the world. You can play games with or against each other, offline or online. In this way new friendships are formed or existing friendships are strengthened and gamers are part of an online community. In it, gamers strengthen social skills and prosaically behavior such as collaboration, sharing knowledge, helping each other, communicating, English language skills, and taking the lead.
Finally, games offer the possibility to experiment with different characters and personalities. In a game you can choose an avatar and adjust properties, determine your identity or role and adopt different values and norms than you would in offline life.
Peter Sundin was born and raised in New Jersey. He has contributed to Buzz Feed, Details and TODAY and served as a commentator for NPR, MSNBC and HuffPost Live. As a journalist for Morning News Ledger, Peter mostly covers national news. Aside from earning a living as a freelance journalist, Peter also works as a dog walker.