Friday, October 19, 2012

Superpowered Perception

If you want to supervillan level perceptual skils and mental reflexes, video games are the way to do it. But just clicking away at simcity isn't going to cut it, you needs to be playing fast paced action first person shooters for measurable results.  Several studies in recent years have shown that action-heavy video games can dramatically improve a skill known as visual attention, the ability to pick and choose relevant visual information from a chaotic environment.  Proof that some of my misspent youth was not as misspent as it would first appear.
Research published in Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science March/April 2011 showed that those who habitually play video games have been documented to outperform novices in a variety of visual attentional capabilities, including attention in space, in time, and to objects. Training studies have established similar improvements in groups of nongamers who trained using games improved their visual attention scores, leading researchers to believe that games of this sort could be used for education, workplace training, and in accident rehabilitation.  So ask your manager to make that next training workshop an inter-office Halo match.
A previous studey at Leiden University in 2010 showed that playing first-person shooter video games is also associated with superior mental flexibility. Compared to non-players, players of such games were found to require a significantly shorter reaction time while switching between complex tasks, possibly because they are required to develop a more responsive mindset to rapidly react to fast-moving visual and auditory stimuli, and to shift back and forth between different sub-duties.
Yep, the research is in, supercharge your visual perception skills and speed up your mental reaction time between tasks by playing the latest Doom.  Go boost your workplace skills, get on the phone to HR and tell them they should buy you a copy.

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