Computer Games Good For You?

china internet cafe

We all know the attitude of the Chinese government towards Internet: China’s Crackdown on the Internet.
Especially online video game playing is used as excuse to block the Internet. In China Internet addiction is a major problem . Another explanation:

Another explanation for Internet addiction could be a creative manner of censorship by the Chinese government. Internet is a relatively new phenomena in China, a side effect of its booming economy and technological advances, but how to control this development and how to fit it in with its communist government?

In a recent published article excessive game playing is proposed to be a social problem. Moreover, the authors of a recent article interpret their results to be proof of negative cognitive effects of excessive computer game playing . While the outcome of this study done in China is proof of the opposite and doesn’t confirm their conclusion to my opinion.

Participants who had previously been excessive computer game players (ECGP) but were not active in gaming (pECGP group) performed significantly better than the control participants, showing the persistent positive effects of gaming. Them still participating in excessive computer game play did worse on a cognitive test compared to those previously known to be ECGP. However, these still ECGP did not significantly differ on the cognitive test compared to controls never been playing computer games excessively.

Sixty male graduate or undergraduate students participated, they were recruited from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC).

To my opinion this finding supports the positive effects of computer game play for some cognitive functions.

The test used was the multiple object tracking (MOT). This task has been used to show the positive effects of game playing. This task requires participants to track positions of a number of target items for a few seconds during which the participant is vulnerable to disturbances. This test can measure such skills with computer games that require players to distribute and switch attention quickly around the field, can alter a range of visual skills. Therefore, people who play casino games may benefit from their games training for some time even without further experience.

So I don’t agree with the conclusion made by the authors:

the current ECGP participants performed significantly worse than the previous ECGP participants. This more important finding indicates that ECGP may be related to cognitive deficits.

ResearchBlogging.org
De-Lin Sun, Ning Ma, Min Bao, Xang-Chuan Chen, Da-Ren Zhang (2008). Computer Games: A Double-Edged Sword? CyberPsychology & Behavior, 11 (5), 545-548 DOI: 10.1089/cpb.2007.0145