Video Games: What goes on outside the screen?

New Delhi : Video games play an integral part in the lives of many, but this popular entertainment medium has sparked cries of outrage on just how “They’re melting your brain, ruining your eyes and you into a violent person.” But are these worries justified?

Dr Mark Appelbaum of the American Psychological Association thinks so. Data collected from his 300 video game studies in the last eight years show a trend of higher aggression and animosity from players favoring violent ‘shoot-em-up’ games.

Another American study has found that “young men who play violent video games such as Grand Theft Auto have a lower capacity for female empathy than those who play more benign games,” according to an article published by The Telegraph.

But both Canada’s McMaster University and Professor Simone Kühn believe otherwise.

Researchers from McMaster discovered that gaming can drastically improve eyesight, contrary to popular belief. This study tested six adults from ages 19 to 31 who were born with cataracts in both eyes, and had undergone rigorous ocular surgery. After subjecting them to 40 hours of first person shooters, the subjects were able to read one to two lines further down on a standard optician’s eye chart.

Meanwhile, psychologist Simone Kühn studied the effects of prolonged video game exposure on the brains of young adults. His finding showed that after playing Super Mario 64 for 30 minutes every day, subjects showed increases in grey matter found in the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum. Sections of the brain related with higher cognitive function, special navigation, memory and fine motor control.

But Hungarian Web entrepreneur, Attila Szantner and Swiss physics researcher, Bernard Revaz, do not believe that the most dangerous aspects of video games are the beliefs that it turns people into “vicious killers, dulls their communication skills, or that it sunders their minds from reality,” according to a report from the New Yorker.

It is the ability to provide players a sense of accomplishment.

They propose that games may distract human kind from genuine achievement, and while we do meet life’s challenges behind the screen, “the tremendous amount of time and energy” that could have been used in the name of human progress, is instead applied in finding a snug fit for the next Tetris block. (ANI)