Do Violent Video Games Actually Make You Smarter
Doctor Jerry Weichman of the Hoag Neurosciences Institute has famously stated that violent games can reinforce the notion that violence solves problems. Statements such as this have been made regarding the gaming industry since the 1970’s when the pixelated arcade game Death Race was released. In response to the violent nature of the game, 60 Minutes ran a story about its extremely violent nature. The game was a driving simulation in which the objective was to run over and kill zombie-like creatures.
And of course, we can’t forget about the arcade game Chiller, which many arcades refuse to support. This gruesome game is hard to watch even by today’s standards (look it up at your own risk).
The gaming industry still receives criticism regarding the amount of violence players are exposed to during gameplay. Many “experts” believe that these games make people more violent. Although this aspect of gaming should be studied, what many of these critics don’t tell you is that these same violent first-person shooter video games make you smarter.
The American Psychological Association has recently revealed studies that confirm the positive effects of first person shooter games. These studies conclude that first-person shooters could actually improve learning and critical thinking in children.
Gun violence all over America has experts stumped. A large number of experts blame the increased attacks on the lives of innocent Americans on the 2nd amendment and all that it stands for. Others blame mental health institutions, education and legal systems are to blame. And a select few claim that it is the normalization of all forms of violence by video games that is the cause of these continual tragedies.
Just about every person in America has an opinion about increased violence and the primary cause of it. Dan Patrick, the former Lieutenant Governor of Texas, blatantly has blamed video games for shootings in the country. To the average American, hearing a political official express this sentiment holds all the information they need to form their opinion about video games and the violence that they inspire, but for the analytical American, it has none of the research or evidence to back up its bold claim.
Even if we were to go out on a limb and blame video games as the primary source of increased violence in America, what about the entire world. Video games are available all over the world. How come the increased deaths and destruction are mostly restricted to the USA relatively speaking.
Some might argue that video games, often reduce murder to a quick click of the mouse or button-mashing sessions and that is not healthy by any standards. However, numerous studies about video games and aggression psychology have proven that this simply not to be the case; research states that violent games don’t make people noticeably more violent than non-gamers.
Politicians can’t blame increased violence on video gamers and the companies that make them. The idea of video games rotting your brain discounts society factors such as poverty, environment, family influence has more of an impact on the violent temperament of a person.
Even more studies reveal similar effects of gaming. The University of Rochester determined that action-based games can simulate real-life scenarios allowing humans to make better decisions. Although in real life you might not encounter bullets flying past your head, these games enable you to assess your surroundings faster and make logical split-second decisions. Max Planck Institute for human development also recently acknowledged the positive effects that gaming has on your brain, which includes improved memory, planning, and motor skills. The scientific community has confirmed these results in overwhelming numbers. Universities from around the world, including Charite university in Germany and the University of London have corroborated these findings. So to answer the question yes, video games make you smarter.
With overwhelming evidence showing direct links between mental improvements and violent games, it is logical to conclude that we might have jumped the gun on the negative effect of violent games based on a handful of isolated violent incidents. Many scientists believe that violent acts that were thought to be the result of endless violent gameplay could have been the result of deeper mental and social issues.
Keep in mind, a balanced lifestyle of exercise, a healthy diet, and positive social interaction will give you the best physical benefits, but if you love your first person shooters you shouldn’t feel guilty at all. In fact, you can always tell yourself that it’s beneficial to your health.
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