Posted on 24 October 2014. Tags: Brain Fitness, Gaming, Neuroscience, Portal 2
According to a recent study produced by Florida State University’s psychology department, Valve’s popular puzzle-platform game Portal 2 is actually better for training your brain than brain training game Lumosity.
The three behind the study: Valerie J. Shute, Matthew Ventura and Fengfeng Ke, initially decided to test Portal 2 against Lumosity after discovering that one of the team members really enjoyed the game, and thought it helped improve her cognition skills.
Games like Lumosity or Brain Age are often sold as brain-training software, trying to cash in on what neuroscientists have discovered in recent years – that human brains have plasticity (think of it like a muscle), meaning our brains are very much able to grow and change like say your biceps or your pecks. Brain-training software has the user solve a series of puzzles designed to ‘stretch’ their thinking skills, similarly, in Portal 2 – gamers have to solve puzzles to get to other portals, achieving an outcome better than those who use Lumosity in terms of cognitive ability.
To pit the two games against one another, the team gathered up 77 volunteers and had them complete tests that measured problem solving, mental-persistence and spatial skill. To determine if playing had affected these skills, they were split into two groups, one group playing one game, the other the other game—both asked to play for eight hours. The researchers found Portal 2 players with a fairly significant “statistical advantage” over those who’d played Lumosity—they note that the reverse was never true with any of the volunteers.
Researcher Valerie J. Shute hilariously sums up the study’s results in a Popular Science report: “Portal 2 kicks Lumosity’s ass.”
While this is certainly the case here, the bigger picture is the positive impact video games have on players, specifically on their cognitive and non-cognitive skills. It might have not have an enormous amount of validity because of the small range of volunteers but what it does help do is remove the modern day, widely idea that every video game promotes violent or aggressive behavior.
Should Portal 2 be given credit for enhancing players brains?
Check the study out here
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