Your parents keep bumping you every now and then to stop playing games? Hey, they are your parents man. They care for you. REALLY? Then tell them that playing games can actually improve your vision.
Researchers at the University of Rochester have shown that people who played action video games for a few hours a day over the course of a month improved by about 20 percent in their ability to identify letters presented in clutter.
“Action video game play changes the way our brains process visual information,” says Daphne Bavelier, professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester. “After just 30 hours, players showed a substantial increase in the spatial resolution of their vision, meaning they could see figures like those on an eye chart more clearly, even when other symbols crowded in.”
Bavelier graduate student Shawn Green did this test on student who had rarely played any video games. They were then trained for a period of 30 days. Students were divided into two groups. The experimental group played Unreal Tournament, a first-person shoot-’em-up action game, for roughly an hour a day. The control group played Tetris, a game equally demanding in terms of motor control, but visually less complex.
After about a month of near-daily gaming, the Tetris players showed no improvement on the test, but the Unreal Tournament players could tell which way the “T” was pointing much more easily than they had just a month earlier.
So next time your parents stop you from playing games, ask them to read this article and request them to join you for improved eyesight.
About the University of Rochester
The University of Rochester (www.rochester.edu) is one of the nation’s leading private universities. Located in Rochester, N.Y., the University gives students exceptional opportunities for interdisciplinary study and close collaboration with faculty through its unique cluster-based curriculum. Its College of Arts, Sciences, and Engineering is complemented by the Eastman School of Music, Simon School of Business, Warner School of Education, Laboratory for Laser Energetics, Schools of Medicine and Nursing, and the Memorial Art Gallery.
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