FRIDAY, June 14, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- In a new finding sure to be shared with some skeptical parents, it seems that the brains of video game enthusiasts make better and faster use of visual input.
"Gamers see the world differently," study author Greg Appelbaum, an assistant professor of psychiatry in the Duke University School of Medicine, said in a Duke news release. "They are able to extract more information from a visual scene."
The study included 125 college students who were either intensive video game players or nongamers. The participants took a visual memory test that flashed a circle of eight letters for one-tenth of a second. After a delay of between 13 milliseconds and 2.5 seconds, an arrow appeared and pointed to one spot where a specific letter had been. The participants had to try to recall the letter.
The gamers consistently outperformed the nongamers in recalling the letter, according to the study in the June issue of the journal Attention, Perception and Psychophysics.
The researchers said two possible reasons exist for the gamers' better recall: They may see more immediately, and they may be better at making correct decisions from available information.
Further investigation is needed to determine if gamers' brains have become trained to perform differently on visual tasks, compared to nongamers, the study authors said.
The American Psychological Association has more about the potential brain benefits of video games.