Researcher suggests video games may not boost cognition

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An FSU researcher came to the conclusion of “Play games because you enjoy them, not because they could boost your brain power.” I’ll let you read the rest of the article

http://www.fsu.edu/news/2011/09/15/video.games/

I feel that for most games, it’s true. The trickiest part, I feel, is that a Video Game, for some reason, has a tendency to take on the form of a game. You do get challenged and you can develop skills from a lot of games. However, the skills you get from a lot of games won’t help you in the real world. There are definite exceptions, and they should be studied.

There are two games where I feel that they can teach you something. The first case is the game of Civilization. Ask a hardcore Civ player about technology and military units, and that player will have a good overview. Now, the Civ games don’t go too in-depth about the unit, but on average, the person will know more. Also, if you base history just on the Civ series, you’ll get the wrong idea about Ghandi.

I feel that the Civilization case can be used to spark an interest in history, like the Indiana Jones movies sparked interest in archaeology. Civilization is a strategy game, and while you can’t be a military strategical master from playing the game, it can plant the seed.

The second one is definitely Flight Simulator. This isn’t about Microsoft’s Flight Simulator, since I haven’t played that in a long time and can’t comment on whether or not I can fly an airplane from that game,  but flight simulators. They are definitely used to train pilots before they get into the cockpit of an airplane, and airplanes are expensive.

Now, those flight simulators probably won’t 100% teach you about airplanes, but it’s my 40-95% complete rule. If you can get something to the 40-95% level at something and there’s an overall benefit to it, then it’s worth doing. In an airplane’s case, while it may take more time to train a pilot using a flight simulator, you take a lot less of a risk crashing into the ground the first time you get into a real airplane.

What I feel that it comes down to is not making video games as educational tools, but games as educational tools. That’s tricky.

Posted on September 17th 2011 in Ramblings

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