Video Gaming Is Entirely Beneficial for Cognitive Functioning, Says New Study

And is associated with aspects of good mental health, too

|

LevelUp
lifehacker

The stereotype of videogamers as isolated, socially awkward losers hiding out their basements is wrong, says a new study. Using psychological and game-playing data derived from more than 3,000 European kids between the ages of 6 and 11 years, a team of psychologists led by Viviane Kovess-Masfety from Paris Descartes University, reports that playing video games is associated with lots of positive cognitive and mental health outcomes. In fact, more video game play was generally associated with better outcomes. The article, "Is time spent playing video games associated with mental health, cognitive and social skills in young children?," is published in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.

From the study:

In a sample of over 3000 young children across six European countries, high video game usage (playing video games more than 5 h per week) was significantly associated with higher intellectual functioning, increased academic achievement, a lower prevalence of peer relationship problems and a lower prevalence of mental health difficulties. High video game usage was not associated with an increase of conduct disorder or any externalizing disorder nor was it associated with suicidal thoughts or thoughts of death. Controlling for demographic and other risk factors explained part of the association between video game use and protective associations in mental health and cognitive function, nevertheless all these relations particularly cognitive functioning persisted despite control….

The results of the present study suggest that video game use is not associated with an increased risk of mental health problems. On the contrary, the data presented here suggest that video games are a protective factor, especially regarding peer relationship problems for the children who are the most involved in video games. Finally, video games seem to be linked to better intellectual functioning and academic achievement.

According to our data, video gaming is entirely beneficial for cognitive functioning as well as for some aspects of mental health.

The researchers do acknowledge that they did not look into what happens when gamers become adolescents. Still, play on kids!

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

34 responses to “Video Gaming Is Entirely Beneficial for Cognitive Functioning, Says New Study

  1. It’s basically nothing but fast paced training of reaction times and problem solving skills. Yeah, these results don’t surprise me in the slightest.

  2. So you’re telling me that my Level 70 Fallout 4 character is actually beneficial to my health?

    (files away for next argument with Ladyfish over how I spend my time)

    1. Not your physical health, no…

    2. Ladyfish should be racing you to 100. Cynic’s wife has over 50 hours in Sims 3 this year, and she completed the Witcher 3 before I did.

      1. I picked up Witcher 3 on recommendation from a friend. It certainly feels like the kind of tedium women would be better at.

      2. My husband argues that he plays FO4 as a tank, as the good Lord and devs intended. Whereas I get Well Rested, spam-craft drugs and adhesives and build Castle Abernathy.

        Snipe from 200 yards ftmfw.

        1. I tend to sneak attack with a Gauss rifle at point-blank range…

          1. Once I got the gauss the game became easy

        2. (nodding aggressively)

      3. “over 50 hours”

        Filthy casual.

        1. Pretty sure I spent 50 hours just playing Fallout like it was Minecraft.

        2. Pretty sure I spent 50 hours just playing Fallout like it was Minecraft.

  3. I’ll agree once I figure out how to get Black Ops 3 auto-aim to stop fighting me.

    1. Step 1: unplug controller
      Step 2: use keyboard and mouse

      This presumes, of course, that you are glorious PC master race and not console scum…

      1. No PC! No PC! Not cool, Joe. You go now.

  4. Like I’m going to take any sort of bullshit study by some French psychology researchers published in a psychology journal seriously. Everybody knows all that worthless crap is just worthless crap.

    Oh, wait, the study says something I agree with? Oh, then that’s perfectly good science. That’s actually how you can tell good science from bad – by whether or not it reaches conclusions I like.

    (It’s still worthless crap – just don’t tell me that I, as an American taxpayer, still somehow wound up paying for this crap.)

    1. I completely agree. The fact that they don’t follow the children into adolescence (i.e. when peer relationships problems and suicidal thoughts present more dramatically) is a huge limitation. Yes, they may assist very young children in developing motor skills, understanding instant vs delayed gratification, problem solving, or whatever, the study of impact on video game consumption would do well to be a bit more long term.

      That said, there is so much value in simply having a study that is contrarian to what is currently the popular notion – that video games are bad mm’kay.

      It flies in the face of previous research, lay-man assumptions, and expert beliefs that I intend to use it as another example of why science should never be considered settled.

  5. When the zombies come, I’ll be ready to parkour my way to survival.

    1. Not bloody likely. If the zombies are slow zombies, the parkour isn’t needed. If they are fast zombies, they will be on you before you clear the first rooftop. Your time would be better spent at the shooting range.

      1. Way to fuck up my survival strategy, dumbass. My plan was to cripple the unarmed parkourers and escape while the zombies were feasting on their brains.

      2. According to the Walkindg Dead, the speed of zombies can vary based on what the plot requires.

        1. Hey now, there’s something to be said for the time of day, whether or not the corpse is a young mans body or an elderly person. Each zombie is a unique bloodflake — not all people run at the same speeds, why do you assume all zombies would move at the same speeds?

  6. I’ve been playing The Division lately. I think it comes up to about 85-90% of its hype, so I’m fairly impressed.

  7. Video Gaming Is Entirely Beneficial for Cognitive Functioning, Says New Study

    I’d better print the report so I can show it to my wife. I want her not to be angry when I play games in my PS3 for hours.

    I also have to hide the paper from my 10-year-old son because he will try to pull that same shit on us.

  8. “…high video game usage (playing video games more than 5 h per week)…”

    Pssh, what’s this “week” crap. That’s what I call Saturday night.

  9. In the 90s and the 00s, Hillary Clinton and other nanny staters were warning about the dangers of violent video games. Violent crime rates have been falling all that time. Maybe the games help young men work out their anger in a safe environment? Or at least keep them off the street with nothing to do?

    1. The next round of video game pants shitting will be about VR. Oh mah gawd, it’s so real, it’s like real, oh mah gawds, the children, *pants shitting sounds*…

  10. Playing video games also improves your swearing skills.

  11. I always felt the multitasking required to accomplish the ridiculously numerous tasks/quests/crafting in elder scrolls and fallout helped train my brain to attack multiple problems from different angles when I was at work.

    But I chalked it up to post hoc justification for throwing hundreds of hours into a fantasy world.

  12. Hey now, there’s something to be said for the time of day, whether or not the corpse is a young mans body or an elderly person. Each zombie is a unique bloodflake — not all people run at the same speeds, why do you assume all zombies would move at the same speeds?
    Clash Royale astuce

  13. The Sims Mobile will officially release almost immediately for android and iOS, the game soft-launched for Brazilian players. If you can’t catch the Brazilian version, prospects are still available for you by downloading the sims mobile apk file on your android device.

  14. I should definitely let my mother read this Detailed study 🙂 Kind of My type of Voice. She always stop me from playing my favorite Ben 10 Games Online. The first thing I am gonna do right now is to email her this article. Games help in strategical thinking. I also think overdo of something is not good. But you can’t blame the gaming for that.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.