How do video games build our visual skills?

Research in the Nature Neuroscience today shows that video games with high levels of action (e.g. first-person shooter games) can increase a player’s real-world vision.

Long-held beliefs have held that the ability to distinguish subtle differences between shades of gray is a characteristic of the human visual system and cannot be improved. Also Read: How to Make Big in Little Alchemy 2?

Professor of brain and cognitive sciences at Rochester Daphne Bavelier discovered that action gamers who are very skilled at recognizing subtle differences in contrast can see them 58 percent better.

Bavelier says that normal ways to improve contrast sensitivity are to get glasses or have the optics of your eye changed. “We’ve discovered that video games can train the brain to process visual information more efficiently and lasts for many months after the game has ended.”

Bavelier’s previous research has shown that action games reduce visual crowding and increase visual attention. Contrast sensitivity is the main limiting factor to how well a person sees, she states. Bavelier states that the results show that video games can be used to supplement eye-correction techniques. This is because the game training could teach the visual cortex how to better make use of the information it has received.

Bavelier and Renjie Li, a graduate student, and Walt Makous, professor of cognitive and brain sciences at the University of Rochester and Uri Poliat, professor at Tel Aviv University’s Eye Institute, divided 22 students into two groups. One group played “Unreal Tournament 2004” while the other “Call of Duty 2”. 

The second group played “The Sims 2”, which is richly visual but lacks the visual-motor coordination found in the other games. Over the nine weeks, volunteers played 50 hours each of their assigned games. The average improvement in the ability to distinguish close shades of grey between Sims and game players was 43%. Also Read: How to Make Seed in Little Alchemy 2?

Bavelier says, “This is the first time that simple training can improve contrast sensitivity.” “When people play action-games, they are changing the brain’s pathway that is responsible for visual processing. The games challenge the human visual system and the brain adapts. We’ve seen positive effects even after two years of training.

Bavelier states that, despite concerns over the effects of video games on the eyes and time spent at a computer, the results suggest that this time is not necessarily harmful.

Bavelier now uses the knowledge she gained from her videogame research to collaborate with a group of researchers to investigate treatments for amblyopia. This is a condition that results in poor transmission of the visual images to the brain.

A new study has shown that “action” video gaming improves visual abilities, which is crucial for reading at night and driving in the morning.

The contrast sensitivity function is a way to see subtle differences in gray shades against a background of uniform color. It is also one of the first visual abilities to begin to diminish with age.

According to Daphne Bavelier, a University of Rochester researcher, an action video game training program can help provide visual power for a long time.

Games for Better Vision

Bavelier stated that previous research has shown that gaming enhances other visual skills such as the ability to track multiple objects simultaneously and pay attention to a series of fast-moving events.

She stated that “a lot of aspects of the vision system are being improved, not just one.” Also Read: How to Make Tool in Little Alchemy?

New research suggests that video games may one day be part of vision correction treatments. Currently, these treatments rely on corrective lenses or surgery.

Bavelier stated that once you have had corrective lenses or eye surgery, it is important to expose yourself to the games to speed up your recovery.

She said that “you need to retrain your brain to make the most of the better, crisper data that’s coming in” due to your improved eyesight.

The study involved expert action gamers who played first-person shooters Unreal Tournament 2004, and Call of Duty 2. An experienced group of nonaction gamers played The Sims 2,, a “life simulation” game.

According to the study, players who played non-action video games did not see the same benefits in their vision.

Bavelier and other researchers are currently trying to understand why action games seem to enhance visual skills.

She suggested that it may be possible that pinpointing enemies and accurately aiming is an eye-training exercise.

Another reason could be that action games are unpredictable and change quickly, which means players must constantly watch entire environments and quickly analyze optical data. Bavelier also suggested that the game’s rich payoff could play a part. Also Read: How to Make Wood in Little Alchemy 2?

She said, “It’s satisfying to be successful in my mission.” Combining rewards with these [factors] will give you more learning.