FPS games can enhance players' memories, says study

Netherlands-based Leiden University says video games enhance the brain's working memory.

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A team at the Netherlands-based Leiden University has published a research paper that says video games, specifically first-person shooters, enhance the memory capacity of players.

The results, published in the journal Psychological Research (via Science Daily), are based off a test comparing the working memory of those who played at least five hours of shooter games weekly to those who never played video games.

Working memory can be thought of as the brain's short-term memory, according to the BBC. "Working memory can help us overcome a particular problem or perform a task, like mental arithmetic, using a phone number, or following a set of directions. However the amount of information we can hold is limited and the information itself is very unstable - a sudden distraction and the information is lost and you have to start again from scratch."

Dr. Lorenza Colzato, who works at the Leiden University's cognitive psychology unit, said that "we think that video game experience trains your brain to become more flexible in the updating and monitoring of new information, enhancing the memory capacity of the gamers."

Colzato says FPS games "require players to develop a flexible mindset to rapidly react and monitor fast moving visual and auditory stimuli."

"We believe that gaming is a fast and easy way to enhance your memory," concluded Colzato.

Discussion

102 comments
Apastron
Apastron

Martin Gaston...woman in video...

Martin Gaston...woman in video...

Martin Gaston = woman in video?

PheasantSupreme
PheasantSupreme

Honestly, the number of people who only read the title is mind-boggling. The study says that it increases the performance of SHORT-TERM MEMORY! NOT LONG-TERM MEMORY!

So many stupid comments...

MatrixGamer78
MatrixGamer78

what a freak it is. Is here any one who play games to memorize school lesson or to get higher marks in examination i bet i am not in one of them. I play games just for fun thats it.

crashmer
crashmer

Guys listen, just play along let gaming look good for a change. xD

Abdul_Jakol
Abdul_Jakol

Yeah gaming in general makes me lazy, unproductive and stupid. What a loser's life.

Aria1368
Aria1368

Battlefield here, Battlefield there, Battlefield anywhere!

Halloll
Halloll

I learned English from playing RPGs, but FPS taught me the Insults.

BladeStrike1234
BladeStrike1234

From online experience they create foul mouthed little brats too....

hippiesanta
hippiesanta

FPS only makes me wanna puke due to motion sickness. That is why I prefer TPS, at least I can see someone's behind

NoLifeGamin
NoLifeGamin

Too bad memorization doesn't go hand in hand with social skills. Because yelling at everyone else on your team after dying for the umpteenth time isn't going make you too many friends, is it?

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

memorizing the layout of first person shooter game maps. Today's version of memorizing the Pattern of Shoot them ups.

Using memory in videogames is how you work on becoming better at them.

dustbreakangel
dustbreakangel

"Working memory can be thought of as the brain's short-term memory, according to the BBC. Working memory can help us overcome a particular problem or perform a task, like mental arithmetic, using a phone number, or following a set of directions. However the amount of information we can hold is limited and the information itself is very unstable - a sudden distraction and the information is lost and you have to start again from scratch."

You mean it's RAM? lol.

CreMax90
CreMax90

Why mostly FPS? Why not RPG, real-time strategy, third person, turn based games (Xcom anyone?)? Those games requires you to think alot than your typical FPS games.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

When I read some of the comments, I suddenly understand exactly why politicians often don't bother citing scientific research when appealing to the masses. A lot of people like taglines and statements that in some ways easily reinforce one or more of their existing beliefs. They go so far as to use new information to reinforce those beliefs. Well, I hope studies like this push the argument over video gaming toward greater objectivity, even if only someone comes forth to criticize the science of this study.

Alucard_Prime
Alucard_Prime

I always knew this was true. One of the hardest things to do is watch a clumsy dimwit try to play a videogame.......you need certain aptitudes to excel in videogames, but by playing them you are also enhancing those aptitudes. Game on folks!

petez34
petez34

what's with the side camera angles? lol Is he checking for ear wax?

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

Unless you play Call of duty, then you will get a sense of repetition in your life.

rookiesniper195
rookiesniper195

well i play notheing but shooters, so i am not rotting my brain, your wrong mom

deedaw
deedaw

Nice! So my long nights taking bong rips while playing my favorite FPS games have not hindered my memory like all the skeptics say about marijuana!

Flamewolf75
Flamewolf75

This article can easily be used to scapegoat games even more. Some stupid politician will say that it improves the ability for people to kill too or something completely ignorant.

hampton2003
hampton2003

makes sense to me. In games, even in FPS' you are multitasking and remembering objectives alot; doing that on a consistent basis "keeps your brain in shape" just like any muscle.

blackothh
blackothh

I would much rather read a story like this, then reading about out of touch with the world politicians claiming that games promote violence.

Hurvl
Hurvl

Lol, this is what old gamers will be doing to keep their minds active and avoid Alzheimers and whatnot - playing FPS games! I don't know if all the excitement from FPS games are good for their blood pressure, but perhaps they can balance that out with some pills, like the nurse says "don't remember to take your FPS pills" when the person goes gaming.

cboye18
cboye18

Lol I'm studying at that university but I have to call BS on this one; even a friend of mine  who works at Guerrilla games doesn't believe this crap...

entan
entan

Oh noes! Those damn Dutch people break the "serious press" consensus that video games at best turn kids into drooling imbeciles and at worst - into homicidal maniacs. Somebody should tell them what the results of their research should be, so they can improve. For example, their next research project should be "Which hobby is most likely to ruin your life and why is it video games". That might help them get back some of their credibility. 

CUDGEdave
CUDGEdave

Yep true,and in the case of MoH Warfighter you will never forget that turd.!

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

And some FPS games make you kill people?

hellangel_boy
hellangel_boy

five hours of shooter games weekly" This is important. It's not five hours daily lol.

KamuiFei
KamuiFei

I think most games require a fair bit of memorization, not just FPS games. Keeping track of spawn points, camping spots and your loadout for certain maps isn't mentally strenuous for the most part. Especially for the kind of people that play nothing but CoD or any other shooter.

2bitSmOkEy
2bitSmOkEy

This must explain why CoD fans buy the same game every year.....wait a minute.....

shingui5
shingui5

hmm, COD now has health benefits.

kohle36
kohle36

@CreMax90 They only tested the FPS genre compared to the non-gaming population - it was built into the assumptions of the study itself. Reading the abstract, it sounds a lot like one of those "we have a hypothesis about the world, and here's a controlled test that seems to validate it" studies.

PStrife
PStrife

@CreMax90 Seems this is more about visual memory. with most of those games you actually have the majority of the analytical information given to you already.  FPSs don't all give you enemy locations, enemy type, and enemy patterns. 

You have to actively remember all that, compared to most other game types.  Then work accordingly.

Sheik2
Sheik2

@hampton2003 In most FPS the mechanics are like COD. The gameplay is so linear that a small child doesn't have to remember anything. He will just shoot and move the only way available and wait for the next cutscene. The only "memory" they could work is muscle-memory by adapting their fingers to press the correct buttons, but that's it. That's why all the multiplayer of COD games are full of 12-year-old kids who don't even know how to talk the proper way. Say again, how does this study "makes sense"?

SeAzhrei
SeAzhrei

You should submit that to gamespot as a default title for future stories like this.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

@cboye18 Is your friend also a psychologist or neurologist? If someone on the study told you it's BS, that would be a real kicker.

Sheik2
Sheik2

@cboye18 Well, you should know if Dr. Lorenza Colzato actually said something, then. All this news seems to be a joke or a mistake from gamespot and BBC.

PheasantSupreme
PheasantSupreme

@2bitSmOkEy If you look at the article instead of posting just after you read the title, you would have seen that it says that video-games enhance SHORT-TERM MEMORY, not long-term one.

Dumachum
Dumachum

@2bitSmOkEy  

They buy the same game every year because they love bad games and know 7 million other idiots will be buying it so they will be part of the bandwagon.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@shingui5 I'd think that tactical shooters have more benefits, because you need to plan and think things through before acting. RPG's and stealth games would probably lead to the same results as well, because there is plenty of tactics, things you need to keep in mind while playing. I'll be playing Deus Ex when I'm at my retirement home and ponder about how much from that game came true.

hampton2003
hampton2003

@Sheik2

I wasnt referencing cod specifically, which imo is the on the shallow end of the FPS genre. And yes you can play FPS in a lazy fashion without much thought, but those players are very bad. Good players play smart. In BF3 for example, a single engagement can have alot of things you are keeping track of:

the locations of my enemy(s), what available nearby cover i have, my customized equipment im carrying and if they will be helpful in this situation, am i going to live or die and if im gonna die how to inflict the most casualties, my weapons available and the fire mode im using. limiting my exposure to engage multiple enemies one at a time, keeping track of my ammo count in my mag, glancing at the mini map to see where my local allies or enemies might be, and my current obj: the flag.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Dumachum The latest CoD's have sold over 20 million each, so does that mean that more than 13 million of them aren't idiots? Now that would be a ground breaking conclusion :P.

hampton2003
hampton2003

@Sheik2 (my original post was too long) continued:

this type of multitasking and remembering/awareness of different information is transferable into the real world or workplace when alot of info could be thrown at you very quickly and the type of example i mentioned above is mental training of sorts that helps you retain this info long enough to complete your tasks.