The effect of video games is still highly debated, with countless studies on the correlation between video games and a gamer’s brain. Experts have proven that playing in moderation increases a person’s IQ by 2.5 points.
With a 3.1 billion gaming population, it’s great to see that more and more studies show the benefits of video games to our brains.
This article examines how video gamers become smarter and its impacts on the different brain functions below:
- Coordination with other body parts
- Visuospatial skills
- Cognitive performance
Let’s see exactly how playing video games impacts each of them.
How Do Video Games Make You Smarter?
Studies show that the different functions of the brain have elevated levels because of playing games. It doesn’t make gamers geniuses, but brain stimulation significantly impacts their intelligence.
Video games help them think more critically and solve problems more easily.
Helps Increase Memory
A research team analyzed data from nearly 2,000 children ages 9 and 10. They evaluated the children’s performance on two tasks: their ability to memorize information and control impulsive behavior.
The analysis of MRI brain imaging showed that children who played for 3+ hours daily had high brain activity in regions linked to attention and memory. Results showed that their brain activity was higher than those who never played.
The researchers also think these patterns come from practicing impulse control and memory tasks while gaming. Since playing them can be cognitively demanding, the changes may improve performance on related tasks.
Move-based games require fast reflexes, which help increase coordination.
For instance, in a game requiring the player to do a “super jump,” he has to double-tap the jump button while holding “up.” These actions can develop accurate hand-eye coordination, regardless of the controller device.
Exercises like these utilize the cerebellum. The cerebellum is linked to the capacity to think and how fast you can process information. Repeated activities can make you smarter and give you improved self-control.
Improves Cognitive performance
Studies found that kids who played video games daily for three hours or more were quicker and more accurate on cognitive tasks compared to those who didn’t.
The team also observed differences in brain activity that accompanied the differences they observed regarding cognitive function between the two groups.
Playing video games for 3+ hours daily is not recommended. The length of time monitored here is solely for the sake of research.
Develops Visuospatial Skills and Attention
Playing video games positively affects attention. Scientists have collected and summarized 116 studies showing video game players’ movements under several types of attention, including sustained and selective attention.
Sustained attention is when you must maintain focus and respond for a prolonged time, such as while studying or driving.
Daphne Bavelier has found that a percentage of regular players who played first and third-person action video games developed excellent sustained attention and focus.
Selective attention is the process that allows a person to focus on a particular input for further processing.
For example, in conversations with someone in a crowded public place, one focuses on what the other person is saying while suppressing irrelevant or distracting information, such as background noise.
A study shows how video game players have a “statistically significant” advantage over non-players in terms of visual selective attention.
The study emphasized the improvements in gamers’ sustained and selective attention. They also require less activation to stay focused on demanding tasks.
Scientists found a significant increase in size in the structure of gamers’ brains, specifically in the parts responsible for visuospatial skills. These skills refer to how gamers can identify visual and spatial relationships among objects.
Furthermore, long-term gamers and individuals who volunteered to follow a video game training plan enlarged their right hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for spatial memory.
Increases The Volume of Gray Matter
A new study by Chinese and Australian researchers found that playing action video games (AVGs) increases the amount of gray matter in gamers’ brains.
Gray matter is part of the brain responsible for muscle control and the following sensory perception skills:
- seeing and hearing
- memory function
- decision formation
The study revealed that those who played AVGs increased their gray matter’s thickness, surface area, and volume.
Improves Problem-Solving Skills
Julia M. Chamberlain explains in a study that “gaming stimulates brain function by impacting dopamine receptors and facilitating problem-solving and strategy within the brain.”
The American Psychological Association revealed that playing video games helps children increase their problem-solving skills. The 2013 study states that the adolescents who kept playing strategy games improved problem-solving and school grades the following year.
This comprehensive look at how playing video games affects the brain might make you wonder what the IQs of gamers are.
What Is The IQ of The Top Gamers?
Here are the IQs of the top gamers in the world, according to which platform they play:
- PC gamers: 112.3 IQ
- PlayStation gamers: 110.7
- Xbox: 103.8
- Nintendo Switch: 101.3
- Mobile gamers: 99.4
Games with the Highest IQ Players
Gamers who play Rainbow Six Siege and Among Us have the highest IQ levels in the gaming community.
Psychologists administering remote IQ tests have suggested that intelligent gamers favor strategy-based first-person shooter games.
The top 3 highest IQ levels in the game were:
- Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege: 120.3 IQ
- Among Us: 118.9 IQ
- Minecraft: 116.3 IQ
Meanwhile, League of Legends players have an average IQ of around 115-120, placing them in the top 15% of the population.
Other games with their gamers’ average IQs are the following:
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare: 111.2 IQ
- EA Sports FIFA: 106.6
- Fortnite: 103.6
Since playing video games positively impacts gamers’ intelligence, it can increase their IQ. However, parents of young gamers should always help them manage their time. This way, they won’t get addicted, as statistics show.
As with any other enjoyable, time-consuming activity, video games should be played in moderation.
Is playing video games the only activity to help me develop a better brain?
No, playing video games isn’t the only activity that can help you develop your brain. Other repetitive, skill-based tasks such as sports, driving, and painting likely have similar effects.
Do video games help your brain?
Yes. There’s no denying the growing body of evidence observing the positive impact of playing video games on the brain and related motor skills.
Which games will make me smarter?
Brain-stimulating and problem-solving games such as jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, chess, Sudoku, and Lumosity may help improve mental functioning and brain aging.
List of Sources:
American Psychological Association
Frontiers In Human Neuroscience
NCBI: National Library of Medicine