Parents like to tell their kids that things such as too much television, computer, or video games will rot your brain and all that bad stuff. The good news is that if your parents are still on your case about playing too many video games, a recent study has surfaced that you might be able to use against them, although we doubt you’d be able to win anyway. Conducted by researchers from the University of Texas and the University College London, it has been found that video games, actually one video game in particular, could actually improve cognitive function, and that game is none other than Blizzard’s StarCraft.
The research has found that gamers who play RTS games such as StarCraft can improve cognitive flexibility, meaning the brain’s ability to switch between concepts instantly, and think about multiple concepts simultaneously and allocate cognitive resources. Given that RTS games do require a lot of micro and macro, it does not come as a complete shock. The study was conducted with 22 female participants with the stipulation that all of them had to play fewer than two hours of video games per week. The control group played The Sims, while two other groups played StarCraft, although one group had mini map alerts disabled meaning that they would have to rely on memory.
The participants were then asked to test a series of cognitive tests before and after playing the game for 40 hours with no more than three hours per day, and the groups that played StarCraft were found to have better test results compared to the control group that only played The Sims. If you’d like to read more about the research, you can find it in its entirely in the PLOS One journal.