With age, most people gradually lose their ability to think logically, to analyze and solve new non-standard tasks, to use acquired knowledge and skills. This is a physiological process. Researchers at the British Digital Creative Lab
(DC Labs) at York University decided to find out if this regression can be slowed down with the help of games, and if so with what help.
At the junction of video games, psychology and neurophysiology, a lot of research
has been done
, most of which is focused on shooters. It has been established that with an unambiguous positive influence
on the processing of the visual-spatial orientation, and the suppression of emotional stimuli, other features of influence on character and intelligence depend on the adopted game strategy. From the adopted strategies may decrease or increase the
thickness of the cerebral cortex.
Strategic games are associated with several aspects of intelligence: the visualization of possible moves, the activation of short-term memory and the ability to immediately delay satisfaction in order to increase future rewards (the "pawn sacrifice"). For chess players, the direct correlation of the level of development of their abilities with a high qualification rating is almost proved.
What is the reason and what is the consequence - an open question. Good starting data, including genetic, provide champion titles with sufficient match practice. For single-player video games, such a relationship “good skills - good results” is also noted and also quite obvious.
Researchers from York tried in their study
to answer the question of whether a particular game can cause a rise in intelligence. To study the question took the most popular games - MOBA and shooters.
At the first stage, we proved that there is a stable correlation between success in the game of League of Legends and high intelligence, that is, good players, like good chess players, are usually pretty smart people. Wexler's test
and 3 tasks
on spatial memory were used to assess intelligence. The ability to understand the emotional states of other people, which is also correlated with intelligence, was also assessed. Participants had to identify the emotion “through the peepers” - the transfer of the eyes without the participation of facial muscles.
At the next stage of the study, two versions of MOBA games (League of Legends and Defense of the Ancients) and two “first-person shooters” (Destiny and Battlefield 3) were analyzed. MOBA-games, compared with shooters, use visual-motor coordination less, but they are much more demanding of memory, the ability to build tactics and strategy.
The study involved players from 13 to 40 years. The average age was 22-23 years. League of Legends had the youngest players. It can be assumed that with age (or rather, with increasing gaming experience), tournament achievements should have increased, but the contribution of mobile intelligence should fall. Mobile intelligence is the ability to think to solve problems independently of previous experience. Another part of the measured abilities - crystallized intellect - is determined, on the contrary, by the volume and depth of accumulated knowledge.
The effect of natural age-related mental decline (alertness, reaction rate, etc.) was found in shooters. This means that playing practice probably had no effect on the development of mental abilities. But MOBA-players have demonstrated a jump in intellectual abilities before the inevitable decline.
The lead author of the study is Athanasios Kokkinakis, a graduate student at the Center for Intellectual Games and Game Intelligence of the British Research Physics and Engineering Council (EPSRC Center for Intelligent Games and Game Intelligence) says: “Unlike shooters (FPS), where speed and accuracy are are priority, multiplayer online battles rely more on memory and the ability to make strategic decisions based on many factors. Perhaps for these reasons we have found a strong correlation between game success and intelligence in MOBA. ”The diagram shows three age groups for each game: 13-21, 22-27 and 28 years old. In two popular shooters (Battlefield 3 and Destiny - both on the left in the picture), game qualification monotonously decreases with age after the “high, high, low” level. Two of the most popular games of the MOBA genre (Dota 2 and League of Legends - on the right) demonstrate a "low, high, low" game level, suggesting that they have a performance increase to a peak characteristic of ages 22-27 years old, and not gradual decline. The Matchmaking Ranking (MMR) is a player's game rating, which depends solely on the history of victories and defeats and the strength of opponents.
Researchers believe that the relationship between tournament strategy, such as League of Legends and Defense of the Ancients 2, and high IQ is similar to the correlation observed in other more traditional strategy games, such as chess.
Corresponding Professor Alex Wade of the University of York Psychology Department and the Digital Creative Lab said: “Research in the past has indicated that people who are well versed in strategy games such as chess are usually well IQ tests. Our research has extended this to games that are played every day by millions of people around the planet. ”
These observations are important, but the goal of the study was to determine whether the practice of video games generates cognitive or perceptual benefits that are transmitted to other areas of the brain when solving other problems. The answer would allow medical practitioners and medical scientists to use video games for neurorehabilitation. Otherwise, teachers and parents would have looked at video games.
Research co-author Professor Peter Cowling, director of DC Labs, agrees: "These studies can significantly affect the future of games and creative industries." His optimism is based on 48 graduate students who continue to work on gaming industry research in his research program.
So far, the findings indicate a link between intelligence and video game performance, but the relationship is correlative, and therefore causation is unclear. The contribution of early development of abilities is noticeable: with equal game practice, gaming talents, who started in their youth, develop faster than those who started later. And at the same time, the discovery of the correlation between game achievements and intelligence allows us to collect data in such areas as “cognitive epidemiology” - a scientific discipline that analyzes mental disorders in other medical diseases. Just let the man play and understand how his alzheimer is progressing.