Aspects of video games emphasize their importance

If video games can be both beneficial and harmful to gamers, how can we predict their impact on people and populations? And how can researchers stay out of the polarizing debate and still communicate their research findings? The answer to the second question is that researchers must be precise. I see five aspects of video games that players can influence: quantity, content, structure, mechanics, and context. Together, these factors can explain the results of different studies.


We expect that when people spend more time playing video games, they are at greater risk of poor game play in school, obesity or being overweight, and developing specific negative effects on physical health (such as carpal tunnel syndrome and other recurring stress injuries. ). We can also correlate more with video-induced seizures for longer periods in patients with epilepsy or photosensitivity disorder.

These correlations can start with the existing characteristics of the players. For example, underperforming students are more likely to spend more time playing games, which can give them a sense of control that they don’t have in school. However, every hour that a child spends playing video games she does not dedicate to doing homework, reading, creating or participating in other activities that may have more educational value. Longitudinal studies support the notion that school performance deteriorates longer.

Additionally, many video games often shorten exercise, which may explain the connection between gaming and obesity. However, exercise games (such as Dance Dance Revolution and some Nintendo Wii games) can have the opposite effect. Finally, repeating the operations of the game can reinforce the effects of the other four aspects that I mentioned.


The core of a video game, its content, can determine which players move from the game to real life. Studies show that, with learning content, games can not only enhance relevant educational skills2, that games designed to help children cope with chronic health problems (such as asthma or diabetes) are more effective than school brochures. doctors to educate children. Identify symptoms and take medication.13 Studies show that violent gambling reinforces aggressive thoughts. Emotions and behavior suggest that these violent tendencies can extend to real life situations.

Understanding the results of video games can only take place during the game itself, minutes after launch, or in the long term. Many content studies, such as one in which children learn about their health, also show that learning to play can be transferred to the real world in the long term.

Research on violent games also shows the transition from learning to real-life situations. Studies in several countries, including a study of 1,595 children in Japan and the United States, show that children who play violent games become more aggressive in their daily lives (as, for example, teachers of the same age say) 9 .. .

The research question has shifted from posting game content in non-game situations to how you do it. The new research focuses on the cognitive and behavioral processes through which learning and transition take place. With Fluid Intelligence, learning can be transferred to other tasks. This term refers to the ability to think and solve new problems independently of previously acquired knowledge. In one study, researchers asked participants to complete a computer-based learning task, similar to a game. They found that training to improve working memory (temporary storage and data usage) transforms it into fluid intelligence. Also, the amount of earnings depends on the amount of training.


The structure of the video game screen affects its effect. For example, in some games, you should ask the player to constantly look for evidence of small changes, such as color changes. B. Signs that indicate the sudden appearance of an “enemy” and react quickly to these changes. Powerful scanning allows the player to quickly and automatically divert attention from the center of the screen to the perimeter.

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