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Video Gamers See the World Differently

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the we-weren't-lying-to-our-parents-after-all dept.

Games 160

trendspotter points out this research from Duke University: "Hours spent at the video gaming console not only train a player's hands to work the buttons on the controller, they probably also train the brain to make better and faster use of visual input, according to Duke University researchers (abstract). 'Gamers see the world differently,' said Greg Appelbaum, an assistant professor of psychiatry in the Duke School of Medicine. 'They are able to extract more information from a visual scene.' ... Each participant was run though a visual sensory memory task that flashed a circular arrangement of eight letters for just one-tenth of a second. After a delay ranging from 13 milliseconds to 2.5 seconds, an arrow appeared, pointing to one spot on the circle where a letter had been. Participants were asked to identify which letter had been in that spot. At every time interval, intensive players of action video games outperformed non-gamers in recalling the letter."

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Must terminate... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43981695)

All organic life...

Must terminate....

Alll organic life.....

Unless first post succesful....

Re:Must terminate... (5, Interesting)

RedDeadThumb (1826340) | about a year ago | (#43982229)

They should make it so the first post cannot be anonymous.

Re:Must terminate... (5, Funny)

stealth_finger (1809752) | about a year ago | (#43982557)

They should make it so the first post cannot be anonymous.

It should come with a first post pre attached.

Re:Must terminate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43983471)

Second post.

Shocking... (5, Insightful)

geek42 (592158) | about a year ago | (#43981705)

Breaking news: gamers better at playing games.

Re:Shocking... (5, Funny)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year ago | (#43981773)

Breaking news: gamers better at playing games.

Exactly. I wonder how good they would be at identifying objects in a more natural environment. Drop a bunch of gamers off in the country, give them certain visual/memory tasks, and see if they perform better than a group of non-gamers.

"How many horses are standing in the shade under the tree?"
"Is the corn crib to the right or left of the barn?"
"What gauge shotgun is the farmer shooting at you with from his porch?

Re:Shocking... (4, Funny)

Guinness Beaumont (2901413) | about a year ago | (#43981815)

That farmer couldn't even quickscope. lol, what a noob.

Re:Shocking... (2)

Billlagr (931034) | about a year ago | (#43981839)

Maybe we should give him an aimbot, to blast people hiding behind the wall off his lawn

Re:Shocking... (1)

filthpickle (1199927) | about a year ago | (#43983989)

He is running the release the hounds cheat. He'll be fine.

Re:Shocking... (1)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about a year ago | (#43981875)

Well, actually, a shotgun at that distance is more to scare off vegetable-stealing hobbits. It's not likely to hurt you badly.

Re:Shocking... (1)

darkfeline (1890882) | about a year ago | (#43982207)

And what distance is that, precisely? Shotguns are much more dangerous in real life, contrary to most video game representations. A quick google search turns up about 50 yards for the danger zone, but blindly guessing, it'll still sting a bit a 100 yards, depending on the guage and shot.

Re:Shocking... (3, Insightful)

Guinness Beaumont (2901413) | about a year ago | (#43982831)

Things don't mimic reality in video games. For example, shotguns. [nerfnow.com]

Re:Shocking... (4, Informative)

geirlk (171706) | about a year ago | (#43982981)

Depends on ammo type, but here's a little table:

No. 2 - 330 yards
No. 4 - 286 yards
No. 6 - 242 yards
No. 7 1/2- 209 yards
No. 8 - 198 yards

Those does not take into account the "extreme maximum" range, but rather the common range for those shots. Even altitude can have a huge impact on range.
With No. 7 1/2, which is commonly used for trap shooting, one should have a safety range of 300 yards.

That is provided they use shots, and not slugs. Slugs have good accuracy to 70-80 yards, and are lethal at several times that distance.

Re:Shocking... (1)

gmclapp (2834681) | about a year ago | (#43983601)

I think you're giving the farmer a lot of credit. Most of the farms I know buy whatever's cheap and shoot indiscriminately at trespassers no matter their distance. ;)

Re:Shocking... (1)

stealth_finger (1809752) | about a year ago | (#43982581)

Well, actually, a shotgun at that distance is more to scare off vegetable-stealing hobbits. It's not likely to hurt you badly.

He needs to start getting some kills so he can upgrade that shit!

Re:Shocking... (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | about a year ago | (#43982955)

Wait, the hobbits had firearms?

That would have made them the most powerful force in middle earth.

Re:Shocking... (2)

Spy Handler (822350) | about a year ago | (#43982897)

quickscoping is just a glitch/artifact in the game and has no relevance to real-life firearm skill or any other skill. However, top COD players are able to recognize even one pixel out of place in a scene... their reflexes honed from many hours of battling against campers and snipers. This (ability to recognize something out of place quickly) can probably help in many real-world situations.

Re:Shocking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43984053)

It's the ability to recognize things that are out of place in static environments that they experience on a regular basis. It wouldn't translate to unfamiliar environments at all because that ability is a retraining of how you perceive things rather than noticing things that are out of place. If you would like to know more about retaining how you perceive read some articles about the perception exercises they put sniper candidates through.

Re:Shocking... (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year ago | (#43983201)

I'm pretty good at spotting wildlife at a park near here and can usually do it before people I'm with do. It'd be interesting to see if it made a difference in more common tasks, though. Like driving in traffic.

Re:Shocking... (3, Insightful)

ACELLC (1612841) | about a year ago | (#43983399)

Breaking news: gamers better at playing games.

Exactly. I wonder how good they would be at identifying objects in a more natural environment. Drop a bunch of gamers off in the country, give them certain visual/memory tasks, and see if they perform better than a group of non-gamers.

"How many horses are standing in the shade under the tree?" "Is the corn crib to the right or left of the barn?" "What gauge shotgun is the farmer shooting at you with from his porch?

I'd start with something less technical like: "What is that green stuff covering the ground?" or "What is that large glowing object in the sky?"

Re:Shocking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43983707)

What gauge shotgun is the farmer shooting at you with from his porch?

You mean what guage is my shotgun?

Is the corn crib to the right or left of the barn?

There are pieces of it everywhere. Both.

How many horses are standing in the shade under the tree?

I count, um, six legs. So, there were like two, very happy horses.

Okay, then next te.. *boom*

Ha, pwned you!

Re:Shocking... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43982529)

I wonder to what extent their other senses suffer? Video games provide only visuals and usually stereo sound (rather than full 3D like the real world). No touch, no smell, no sense of balance, no feeling the wind, no g-forces.

Re:Shocking... (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43983159)

I wonder to what extent their other senses suffer? Video games provide only visuals and usually stereo sound (rather than full 3D like the real world). No touch, no smell, no sense of balance, no feeling the wind, no g-forces.

I assume that they don't get any serious practice(and so would deeply underperform against perfumers, ninjas, sculptors, and glider pilots); but it's not as though everyone gets only 20 Sense Points to distribute across all their sensory stats, making it so bumping one stat requires degrading a different one.

FOX News: (0)

wild_quinine (998562) | about a year ago | (#43982599)

Breaking Fox News: Gamers implicated in ABC murders.

stop the presses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43981713)

People who play video games are good at video game-like tasks.

I can believe this (4, Interesting)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | about a year ago | (#43981727)

Mostly because I was a long time gamer before I signed up for a psychology experiment.(This was in the early 90's.) They'd flash a single wordson the monitor and see which ones I could or couldn't read.(I forget what they were testing with the words since it's been so long.) To make a long story short they couldn't use me for the experiment because I could always read the words even if flashed for 1 frame. (1/60th of a second or 15milliseconds) I told the psych professor it was probably because I played so many video games.(Which was the only thing that made sense to me since you have to respond to very quick visual stimuli.) Actually this sucked because I signed up for the experiment in the first place because we had to do a couple hours of participating in experiments for the psych class I was taking and basically I wasted an hour on this and got no credit.

Re:I can believe this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43981905)

Forcing you do participate in experiments for credit? Thats pretty bad.

My psychology class (At University of Washington) was pretty clear about this: if you sign up and go, you can get credit, even if you decline every part of the experiment. I still didn't bother: they weren't gonna get my time for their studies in exchange for grades (0.1 GPA points). Since they generally pay people to participate, it was basically a pay per grade deal. I already paid for the class via tuition, and the book, the online testing crap, RF responder cliker thing, and the proprietary answer sheets for the exams. I wasn't going to buy the grade too.

Re:I can believe this (1)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | about a year ago | (#43982099)

It's actually pretty common. At my university it was participate in three experiments or write a paper. I actually tried, but It does make me wonder about the accuracy of these type of experiments. I mean, If students are forced to do a task where performance doesn't matter, why should they do their best. Especially if they're paying to be forced to do it.

Re:I can believe this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43982259)

If you are comparing 2 parts of the study group properly, you can still detect the effect you are looking for even if most of the people (or ll of them) don't try very hard. That kind of thing is handled by basic scientific practices. Of course, like always, there can be confounding factors: people who like playing games might also like playing the game in the study, and thus try.

Also, having participated in some such studies, I've found tons of worse issues with them, multiple testing being the biggest (run a million studies world wide checking for 20 things each, you get about 1 million false positives to fill the news for a year).

Re:I can believe this (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | about a year ago | (#43983469)

Yes, pretty much. Actually if I remember correctly you had to participate in a certain number of hours in experiments or you flunked the course.(It was basically a psych 101 course.) Admittedly it was easy credit but in the end the person running the experiment had to sign off on it.(Which as I mentioned they could decide they didn't want to because they didn't get data.)

Re:I can believe this (1)

pezpunk (205653) | about a year ago | (#43984043)

very common. my school did this as well. your psy100 grade was automatically an F if you didn't participate in X number of experiments. no big deal, it was actually pretty fun.

Re:I can believe this (5, Insightful)

Ultracrepidarian (576183) | about a year ago | (#43982731)

So they deleted the data points that didn't fit their predetermined bias.

Re:I can believe this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43983735)

That's how statistics work.

Re:I can believe this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43982949)

"they couldn't use me for the experiment"

Did you report the professor for throwing out extreme results in his experiment to get the results he obviously wanted?

That type of intellectual dishonesty is generally taken very seriously in the academic world.

Or is this an exaggeration for the purpose of making you look "cool" to Slashdotters because you're so amazing at reading words that flash quickly?

If so, I'm not impressed. I could probably do this if it were flashed for 1/120th of a second.

They see the world? (3, Funny)

csumpi (2258986) | about a year ago | (#43981733)

I thought they sat in a dark room all day with a black t-shirt that says do not expose to sun.

Info extraction vs processing? (0)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#43981735)

I wonder how well it works for longer term decision making? In extreme, is there any risk of training yourself into a fast swimming ADHD Dory [wikia.com] ?

Faster isn't better (-1, Flamebait)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about a year ago | (#43981781)

Slightly faster reactions to a visual input is a poor tradeoff for reduced person to person social interaction and physical activity.

Re:Faster isn't better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43981805)

[citation needed]

Re:Faster isn't better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43981807)

Nobody is claiming otherwise

Re:Faster isn't better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43981819)

yes, because playing video games are mutually exclusive with those two things~

Re:Faster isn't better (5, Insightful)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about a year ago | (#43981833)

There's nothing preventing a video game player from playing in sports and having adequate physical activity. After all, even extreme athletes know there is a rest period.

Re:Faster isn't better (4, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#43981861)

There's nothing preventing a video game player from playing in sports and having adequate physical activity. After all, even extreme athletes know there is a rest period.

Yes, but do extreme gamers know that?

Re:Faster isn't better (0, Troll)

readingaccount (2909349) | about a year ago | (#43982075)

Generally yes. However, I can just about guarantee that the gamers who have enough skill to make an appreciable impact impact on a study like this are NOT going to be the same group of games who can suitably balance sports and other physical activity with said gaming activity.

No references/evidence to provide, only experience here sorry.

Re:Faster isn't better (3)

Tagged_84 (1144281) | about a year ago | (#43983073)

I usually place 1st in fast paced FPS games like Team Fortress 2, have won numerous local tournaments back in the day for Quake 3 too. From what I recall, many of the pro CS players used to include physical workouts in their training regime too. While I code and design games more than play these days, I still push hard to keep my 10km runs under 40 min. Recently I just so happened to get an achievement in Runkeeper for tracking my 1,000th km.

We are out there :)

Re: Faster isn't better (2)

Spottywot (1910658) | about a year ago | (#43982217)

Seems that you like to conform to Daily Mail/Fox news stereotypes. I've just come back from the Lake District with a group of my friends who have a wide variety of professions, It professionals, business owners, accountants, tree surgeons etc.. who enjoy mountaineering, canoeing, swimming need I go on? No anti social fat basement dwellers there. The only thing that we all had in common apart from knowing each other before hand, is a over of computer games since childhood.

Re:Faster isn't better (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | about a year ago | (#43983049)

True, but the reality is otherwise. To become really good at a video game means sitting in front of the video game. To become really good at athletics means actually going out and doing it. An athlete will not play video games in their rest period, because it is REST! I used to windsurf about 4 to 5 hours a day while still being in school. The last thing I wanted to do was play video games during my rest time. Video games are not resting, unless you are talking casual games, but I doubt casual gamers (like myself) have much better reactions that FPS gamers.

Ironically, even to this day when I want to rest and relax I exercise. Nothing too strenuous, just enough to keep the blood moving.

Re:Faster isn't better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43981853)

It doesn't strike me as impossible to have both acceptable or even good person to person social interaction and somewhat faster reaction time.

Also, faster reaction time could be beneficial in lots of situations, for example avoiding car crashes, which can occur pretty often and has some very real life consequences if you reacted fast or not.

Re:Faster isn't better (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | about a year ago | (#43983061)

Wrong... Here is the issue. If you have a faster reaction time and play video games you tend to be more "jumpy". I don't mean this in a bad way. I mean you tend to be faster than other folks. THUS what ends up happening is that you drive faster, and the advantage you have in reaction gets nullified since you are driving faster. I am not saying you are a hazard. I am saying things balance out.

Re:Faster isn't better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43983535)

In that case it's still beneficial as they're no less safe but tend to arrive more quickly.

Re:Faster isn't better (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year ago | (#43981859)

Slightly faster reactions to a visual input is a poor tradeoff for reduced person to person social interaction and physical activity.

I dunno... this kind of skill could pay off big when the aliens take over and put us all to work at "spot the letter", to generate energy for their [technobabble].

Re:Faster isn't better (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43982201)

Slightly faster reactions to a visual input is a poor tradeoff for reduced person to person social interaction and physical activity.

So what you actually meant is "Fatter isn't better" ...

Re:Faster isn't better (1)

stanIyb (2945195) | about a year ago | (#43982461)

Who decides that it's a poor tradeoff? That's absolutely subjective.

They Did It On Purpose. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43981809)

The title purposely makes it sounds like it's going to be something controversial to get more views.

But is it permanent? (4, Interesting)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about a year ago | (#43981817)

The first few layers of the visual cortex are highly malleable. Wear a set of glasses that flip the world upside down (or angle the field of view by 10 degrees) and the system will adapt within a couple of days - the user will see the world as normal.

But also - when the user stops wearing the glasses the system quickly adapts back.

With all this fluidity, I suspect that a gamer's heightened sense of perception will dissipate if they stop playing games. At a guess this would probably take about 6 weeks.

Re:But is it permanent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43981899)

not the same.

Make anyone change glasses every day and it will be natural for them.
I doubt you can unlearn something that became a "skill".

Re:But is it permanent? (1)

Nyder (754090) | about a year ago | (#43981927)

The first few layers of the visual cortex are highly malleable. Wear a set of glasses that flip the world upside down (or angle the field of view by 10 degrees) and the system will adapt within a couple of days - the user will see the world as normal.

But also - when the user stops wearing the glasses the system quickly adapts back.

With all this fluidity, I suspect that a gamer's heightened sense of perception will dissipate if they stop playing games. At a guess this would probably take about 6 weeks.

If maybe the brain wasn't processing what you see. I doubt the eyes react quicker, it's probably the brain reacts quicker. Why? Because of the practice. So the skill could get rusty if you don't use it everyday, but it's possible that once you gain the skill, you use it.

So basically I don't agree with your assumption and me, not being an expert (but a long time gamer), I'm going with my assumption.

Re: But is it permanent? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43982153)

My experience has taught me that if I do not play a shooter for some time, my ability to track fast moving targets decrease significantly. This is especially true for classical fast fps games like Unreal Tournament and Quake. I lose the ability to "see" the exact location of a player at the pixel level, reducing my overall accuracy.

This only applies to shooters though, and when outside in the woods I am rarely the first to spot an animal, so..

Re: But is it permanent? (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | about a year ago | (#43983071)

Want to know why? Because you cannot see the signs! As some posters have said before, "great you can spot a letter... but can you do X" I am outside in the forest with my dogs, have been for nearly 20 years. I can spot animals as quick or quicker than my dogs. It is something that you acquire, and I suck big time at video games. Not dissing video games, just saying that "great you can spot a letter", as for me , "great you can spot animals, where is my gun ;) "

Re:But is it permanent? (1)

Tagged_84 (1144281) | about a year ago | (#43983107)

The brain reacting quicker is the most likely scenario. The excessive repetition of an activity results in the the axons building up a nice fat layer of myelin sheathing, which have insulation properties that speed up the electrical transmission.

Re:But is it permanent? (1)

geirlk (171706) | about a year ago | (#43983067)

I am willing to bet that years of gaming will physically change the brain, to a degree that it will not quickly subside afterwards. Not unlike the cab drivers of London learning "The Knowledge". It has been proven that the hippocampus area of their brains actually grows to a much larger size than the average population. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/notrocketscience/2011/12/08/acquiring-the-knowledge-changes-the-brains-of-london-cab-drivers/ [discovermagazine.com]

In myself, being a gamer, I know that I usually surpass my none-gaming friends in two areas: Reaction time, and spatial awareness. These we've even tested under atleast close to scientific circumstances. We have a museum here in Oslo called "Norsk Teknisk Museum" (Norwegian technical museum). They have an interactive exhibition providing, amongst other things, reaction tests and similar. What it showed is that the 3 of us playing a lot of games had way faster reaction times than the average.

Re:But is it permanent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43983105)

Now to test the actually important concerns: do gamers think any differently / better / worse than non-gamers? And if so, in what ways, specifically?

Perception is the welcome mat to cognition, and cognition is the abode of the soul.

Re:But is it permanent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43983627)

Adaptation and skill learning are two different things. Most likely, this is skill learning, not adaptation.

familiar eight letters (1)

shafty (81434) | about a year ago | (#43981847)

The circles of eight letters flashed on the screen included: WARCRAFT, KILLZONE, and ROBOTRON. The losers saw UMADBRO?

chicken or egg (5, Insightful)

Tweezak (871255) | about a year ago | (#43981849)

Does gaming make you better at these tests or is it just that people that have these particular skills tend to gravitate to action video games?

Re:chicken or egg (1)

yathaid (2106468) | about a year ago | (#43982057)

Wouldn't that be the point of a Control group?

Re:chicken or egg (1)

julesh (229690) | about a year ago | (#43982257)

I don't see how you could control for such an effect. When you sample from a self-selected group (i.e. gamers) you always risk sampling bias based on something that may cause people to select themselves into the group, which in this case is actually quite likely to be "being good at action-oriented video games" which translates largely to "having fast reflexes". AFAIK, there is no way to counteract this effect.

Re:chicken or egg (1)

darkfeline (1890882) | about a year ago | (#43982227)

A bit of both, I'd imagine. Thank you for reminding us that correlation does not imply causation. There should be an automatic reminder below every /. post containing such studies, so we don't need an obligatory reminder post every time.

Re:chicken or egg (1)

Grismar (840501) | about a year ago | (#43982511)

Your question is valid, but the research doesn't appear to favor one of the answers - though it's clear which one will sell more ads. (Found myself replacing "papers" with "ads" there, how sad)

Although this is in the article: 'Appelbaum said that with time and experience, the gamer apparently gets better at doing this. "They need less information to arrive at a probabilistic conclusion, and they do it faster."' And of course you could actually determine this by looking at how long and how much people have been playing games up to the point of the study.

Be a better driver. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43981855)

When I was a busy salesman driving around my city I used FPSs to keep my reaction times low and situational awareness sharp. Where I live the traffic is the worst/deadliest in our area so I felt like I needed something to give me an advantage. I drove on this route for six years and 35,000 miles without a ticket or accident. Not that I didn't come close a few times.

Re:Be a better driver. (3, Funny)

chromas (1085949) | about a year ago | (#43982181)

I drive at full throttle at all times, lane splitting on the median and using only the handbrake for those times I need to round sharp corners. I run over hundreds of pedestrians, most of whom get right back up and simply curse at me. When the cops come, I drive outside their search radius and they call it off.

Vidya games have taught me well.

Re:Be a better driver. (1)

gary_7vn (1193821) | about a year ago | (#43982291)

Yes, fine, but how many people did you kill with your car mounted laser cannons?

Not the first study of this sort (2)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about a year ago | (#43981867)

There's been other similar prior work. For example, there's evidence that gamers can quickly allocate their attention in an efficient fashion. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2680769/ [nih.gov] and that gamers have faster reaction times for a large variety of tasks http://cdp.sagepub.com/content/18/6/321.short [sagepub.com] .

Re:Not the first study of this sort (1)

jdrugo (449803) | about a year ago | (#43982627)

There's been other similar prior work. For example, there's evidence that gamers can quickly allocate their attention in an efficient fashion. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2680769/ [nih.gov] and that gamers have faster reaction times for a large variety of tasks http://cdp.sagepub.com/content/18/6/321.short [sagepub.com] .

Indeed, I'd have modded you up if I'd have mod points.

This study is yet another one showing these effects, but is by far not the first. The effects of video-game playing, in particular action video-game playing, on various part of the decision making process have been studied extensively. The whole research was kicked off by the publication of

Green, C.S. & Bavelier, D. (2003). Action video games modify visual selective attention [unige.ch] . Nature, 423, 534-537

with more publications related to that topic available on the lab page of Daphne Bavelier [unige.ch] .

Disclaimer: I was working in the same department as the above-mentioned lab some years ago

Re:Not the first study of this sort (2)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#43982795)

There's been other similar prior work. For example, there's evidence that gamers can quickly allocate their attention in an efficient fashion. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2680769/ [nih.gov] and that gamers have faster reaction times for a large variety of tasks http://cdp.sagepub.com/content/18/6/321.short [sagepub.com] .

No, no, no.

We all know that gaming is the work of the devil and teaches our chillin' nothing good.

Both Fox News and the Pastor told me so.

This "research" must be suppressed.

Correlation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43981873)

The causal relationship does seem plausible, but this does not show that connection. People who are good at this might simply be more likely to be "intensive players of action video games".

The effect could also be limited to people who watch computer screens are better at watching computer screens. I wonder if the outcome would differ if multiple focal distances were involved, or a wider field of view, or higher contrast ratios. Looking at a screen really is a very limited subset of what our visual system can do.

Anyway, I suspect their conclusion is accurate. If you train yourself for years to be good at something, its no surprise you are better than average at it. Even a tiny difference would be statistically significant given enough data.

Finally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43981945)

...all those years of sitting in this basement in my underwear playing WoW are finally going to pay off.

Retinal fixation point (2)

relikx (1266746) | about a year ago | (#43981951)

Gestalt psychology would suppose that the brain processes information with the ability to fill in gaps so to speak, or to quote Kurt Koffka, "The whole is other than the sum of the parts." One of the gestalt "laws" of grouping, that of symmetry, is that object of similar grouping will be perceived as formed around a center point.

Gamers have the benefit of using the natural fixation point of our retinas in an enhanced way (or rather in a more methodical fashion); "focus" as abstract as that means in cognition, can still be more or less analyzed as a gradient via intentness of this point in the types of exercises this study put the subjects. Thus, it would lead to more clarity in the immediate vicinity of this area of focus.

To bring things to a more salient point, the concept of the simple harmonic oscillator (as a quantum function) of the brain would touch on how the fine-tuning of this fixation point awareness would lead to essentially cutting milliseconds off of certain neuronic processes between the optic nerve and the visual cortex. Thus, whether the effects are temporary or not this is still relevant in our understanding of the gestalt.

Neanderthals (0)

Enokcc (1500439) | about a year ago | (#43982025)

They are turning into Neanderthals [livescience.com] !

oh yeah? (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#43982029)

Forget those amateurs! I could identify the letter AND shoot it in one shot! I hear that's an achievement.

What a shame they did not test peripheral vision (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43982187)

What a shame they did not test their peripheral vision at the same time, because I suspect they also develop tunnel vision.

I have seen a gun pointed at a person playing a shooting game and they did not see it because they are focused on the center of their vision and have lost their natural hunting instincts.

Relation to other theories (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43982281)

Interestingly, the researchers also noted that, despite the lack of anonymity, gamers exhibited a higher rate of verbal abuse of other participants who failed to complete the given task successfully. This rate was shown to be independent of the gamer's biological age, ethnicity and social class, but a correlation appeared when plotted against the gamer's online age. The rate of abuse also increased as the gamers became more confident in their ability to outperform other participants.

The researchers have therefore proposed the following refinement of John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory [penny-arcade.com] : it is not anonymity per se but rather the expected impunity which is required to demonstrate the greater internet fuckwad theory. To confirm this, the gamers were divided into two groups and electric shocks were administered in response to abuse. At low voltages the rate of abuse unexpectedly increased and was directed at the researches, but as the voltage was increased above a certain per-gamer threshold, the abuse suddenly stopped. The authors have not provided further details due to time constraints and could not be reached for questioning.

I have known this for over 25 years (1)

chthon (580889) | about a year ago | (#43982323)

My first computer was a ZX Spectrum, and I used to play games like *Psssst*. I have always felt that I was better at moving through thick crowds because of this. My wife always takes the wrong ways through crowds, moving to the places with most people, whereas I see al the holes in the crowd.

Re:I have known this for over 25 years (1)

geirlk (171706) | about a year ago | (#43983139)

I just rush through the crowd, pushing everyone aside, Ezio style.

It causes bad drivers (1)

tlambert (566799) | about a year ago | (#43982851)

It causes bad drivers.

The place I see this effect is driving home from the AMC 20 in Santa Clara on 101, and the idiots in the rice rockets who (A) thing they are playing a video game, (B) think that video game physics perfectly mirror reality, so things that work there work in the meat word, and (C) think everyone else drives the same way they do, so it's OK to drive that way because the only people who will get in accidents are the people who don't play the game as well as they play it.

Personally, If I were a CHP, I'd fill my monthly no-such-thing-as-a-quota on Friday and Saturday night, and maybe Sunday, if it was a 3 day weekend, and then take the rest of the week off and windsurf. Instead, these guys simply don't get pulled over.

The reason professional race car drivers don't drive like assholes on the freeway is they realize that not everyone is a professional race car driver.

Re:It causes bad drivers (2)

unkiereamus (1061340) | about a year ago | (#43983005)

Yeah, I'm going to have to go ahead and disagree with you on this.

You're missing a much more fundamental possible cause of the behavior. By and large, the drivers of rice rockets are late teens/early 20s males. Late teens/early 20s males have a couple things going on:

A) They engage in experience seeking, risk taking behaviors at a much, MUCH higher rate. The causal link between that and testosterone is the popular theory, scientifically it's still up in the air as far as I know, but I haven't really been paying attention.

B) They exhibit poor judgement. This isn't terribly surprising, given that judgement tends to grow out of experience, and they just don't have that much of it.

In short, late teens/early 20s males, myself included, have been driving like assholes for longer than the video games you want to blame it on have been around. I haven't really spent much time talking to any of them about it, so it's possible that's how they're justifying their stupid driving practices these days, but it's not what's causing it. Me, I just claimed to have superior situational awareness and car control, I didn't even bother trying to justify that accidents are caused by people who failed to come up to my mark...I didn't care about them.

Thankfully, as I look back, I don't think I caused any accidents, but that's really through no credit to myself.

Re:It causes bad drivers (1)

geirlk (171706) | about a year ago | (#43983147)

Gamers don't cause bad drivers. GPU manufacturers cause bad drivers.

Without good drivers they'll crash.

We are talking 'bout the same thing, right?

Re:It causes bad drivers (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43983645)

You really have no idea what you're talking about. Before video games, the idiots in the rice rockets were idiots in muscle cars. And before muscle cars the idiots were in hot rods. Before that, you had people who would whip their horses into a froth and pull their surrey too fast. (They even optionally had fringe on the top; compare and contrast "dingle balls")

Video games can improve driving skills. Gran Turismo did for me. It made me a smoother driver even around the speed limits.

I sure see the world different (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43982891)

Every time I walked down the street, I expected a dragon out of fucking nowhere to come wreck everything.
And then walking down a busy mall, suddenly zombies, everyone is zombies.

We lost a lot of men that day.
God forbid the world suddenly became Resistance. Although I would like a new body, even if it is shared.

...and despite all the benefits I wonder (0)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#43982963)

I have a nephew who is a classic example of the video game addicted kid... only he's not a kid any more. Sure, he's got the boost in hand-eye coordination, but where does it benefit his life? He might have a career in operating drones in the future..."securing our freedom?" But his unending focus on non-productive, non-valuable sense of achievement [unlocked!] had literally interfered with his development as a person. He is/was a truly sharp person but we just can't tear him away from his gaming.

And like it or not (I'll get modded flamebait or troll for this I'm sure) it does the same to many people here. Their choice of PCs and OSes all seem to require support for their gaming needs. Really? ("I'd switch to Linux, but I've got to play my games!") I find it disturbing. I like games too. But I found they used too much of my time and they upset the balance of my life. As I do not live with a parent or anyone else to take care of me, any and all of my focus must be primarily on the basics of life which are work, eating, sleeping, shelter and all of those things.

Citing some ostensibly positive benefit of being immersed in video games does nothing to help the problems associated with how they distract, delay and deter people from real life. And before people say "...just kids..." I suggest they look around. A lot of these "kids" are in their 30s and some in their 40s. We already have a serious maturity and development crisis here in this 1st world nation we call the USA. Where before it was just TV, now it's that and a lot more.

Re:...and despite all the benefits I wonder (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year ago | (#43983289)

Socrates had the same dim view of "kids these days" a few thousand years ago.

I don't think you're seeing a gaming problem there. I've seen the same escaping-reality behavior with books and television. If your life isn't particularly rewarding or interesting, you'll seek it out somewhere else. You say he's seeking out a non-valuable sense of achievement, but has anyone ever provided him a particularly valuable one? The endemic problem you think you've identified might have more of a basis with our society as a whole than any particular symptom you've identified. Most people have pretty boring lives. Rather than complain about it, why not actually try to make your nephew's life more interesting?

When choosing your OS, you choose the best tool for the job. So who's worse, the guy who refuses to consider any other operating system, or the guy who installs the one that lets him use his computer for what he wants to do? If you want to play games and identify Linux and OSX as weak at gaming, it'd be kind of silly to install them. I like to run Linux in a work environment, but most places have windows-specific requirements for E-Mail and other applications. You can spend a lot of time trying to work around some of the limitations with wine, or you can just use Windows and install cygwin. Identifying the right tool for your particular job isn't a weakness. And demanding that everyone else use the tool you find to be best for your particular job isn't a strength.

Re:...and despite all the benefits I wonder (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#43983651)

But his unending focus on non-productive, non-valuable sense of achievement [unlocked!] had literally interfered with his development as a person.

For a second there, I thought you were talking about an insurance salesman. The simple truth is that most of our jobs are not useful. They amount to behaving like decapitated poultry, or as some sort of gatekeeper.

Re:...and despite all the benefits I wonder (1)

XcepticZP (1331217) | about a year ago | (#43983785)

Not everything we do in life is meant to have a direct and tangible benefit. Sometimes we just do shit for fun. Just because you feel that gaming is pointless doesn't mean that the rest of us feel that way too, nor does it mean you're right. I'm sure you waste your time on something that we don't see the point of doing.

With that in mind. You have to understand that some of us do get benefit out of gaming, even though you don't.

World 1.0 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43982967)

Graphics 8.0 - Fairly realistic, but lack of cool effects makes the overall appearence dull.

Audio 9.5 - GREAT surround sound support!

Gameplay 2.0 - Quests are boring and hard to get, too much farming and a lack of greater goal.

Overall 4.0 - Meh! Rent at most, not worth full purchase.

Causality (1)

Phoeniyx (2751919) | about a year ago | (#43983127)

Someone teach this man (professor) the difference between causality and correlation.. He's not a artsie guy, he's a scientis... Wait... "assistant professor of psychiatry"..... Ok.. I understand.

Funny; I can relate. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43983729)

I went through a period that I was playing "Need For SPeed: Porsche Unleashed".

For several days, on my way to work, I had this tendency to drive into incoming traffic. I got over that.

Playing GTA VI did not make we want to drag people out of their cars though.

Assassin's Creed (1)

Grench (833454) | about a year ago | (#43983761)

I know I see the world differently.

After playing through the first Assassin's Creed game, I'd find myself looking up at tall buildings, churches, etc. working out the best path to take for climbing up to the roof.

Never actually attempted to climb to the roof of any building - probably for the best; I hate heights.

So if you train someone for a task (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43983777)

they perform better at that task than people not trained for it.

Got it. Thanks.

So what do you LOSE? (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about a year ago | (#43983931)

Since we've finally moved past the old "you only use 10% of your brain" canard, it seems plausible that the neural paths reinforced by/for tasks like this would otherwise have been doing something else. I wonder if there are tasks where these gamers perform significantly worse than non-gamers? If there are, are the deficits consistent, or do different brains lose different things?

How serious gamers play baseball. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about a year ago | (#43983955)

Looks like the gamers know what the letter has been in some spot a few milli seconds later. It probably explains why gamers playing real baseball with real bats seem to be hitting where the ball had been a few milliseconds instead of where the ball is now.

Weed and caffeine (1)

boristdog (133725) | about a year ago | (#43984035)

So this could just be attributed to lots of weed and caffeine?

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