This story is from the category Augmenting Organics
Date posted: 07/02/2007
The argument for and against video games, VR gameworlds (persistent MMOs) and on-screen-interactive violence of all forms, has waxed and waned over the years, back and forth between both camps. It is unlikely it will ever stop.
However, new empirical research from the University of Rochester in the US has found that playing in these fast passed, lightning reaction environments can be good for your eyes.
The study shows that people who play action video games for a few hours each day over the course of a month can improve their performance in eye examinations by about 20%.
"Action video game play changes the way our brains process visual information," stated Daphne Bavelier, professor of brain and cognitive sciences. "These games push the human visual system to the limits and the brain adapts to it. That learning carries over into other activities and possibly everyday life."
Bavelier and graduate student Shawn Green tested college students who had played very few, if any, video games in the preceding year. "That alone was pretty tough," says Green. "Nearly everybody on a campus plays video games."
Test subjects were given an eye test similar to one used at regular eye clinics. They were asked to identify the position of a "T" within a crowd of other symbols ? a so-called "crowding test".
The subjects were divided into two camps, one of these camps engaged in thirty hours of playing the first person shooter Unreal Tournament, whilst the other camp had the far less graphically complex tetris to contend with.
After 30 hours of gaming, both groups had their vision tested again. Those who played Tetris saw no improvement in their test score. However, the group that played Unreal Tournament scored 20% better in the eye test on average.
The researchers believe the spatial resolution of these players' vision had improved as a result of playing the fast and furious computer game. This enabled them to pick out figures on an eye chart more clearly, despite other symbols crowding in.
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