Even if you don’t think about it, you’re probably multitasking much of the time. Perhaps you’re fixing your leftover work while on commute. Or you’re responding to an email while listening to an audio message from the client. Hence, ithas become an unconscious art we are all involved in.
Multitasking is, indeed, the demand of the day we live in. But it’s also true that these skills of an individual decline as they age. This makes us question if there is any way to improve human capabilities of handling more than one task at a time. Fortunately, there are a couple of solutions that we can seek. One of them is through video games. While people speculate about the negative impact of blinding strobe lighting of the screens, the latest research is coming up with entirely new concepts.
Consider the study by Daphne Bavelier, for instance. She conducted about 20 studies on young people who played action video games. By the end, she concluded: “It turns out that action video games are far from mindless.” Her analysis proved that gamers have better cognitive abilities, real-world perceptions, and multi-tasking skills than non-gamers.
Let’s have a look at how games sharpen certain skills and help us become better multi-taskers:
When an adult or a child is playing a video game, they aren’t only staring at the screen. Rather they are fully alert and try to respond to every cue within a jiffy. The action on the screen brings in a lot of mental stimulation. Players have to coordinate their audial, visual, and physical movements for making high scores.
There was a study by the University of Toronto that proved this aspect of gaming. They discovered that people who play action games like Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty were able to have better hand-eye coordination.
Consequently, people who have enhanced coordination can work at multiple tasks in the real world, too.
Improves problem-solving skills
Every video game has certain rules that the player must abide by. If they fail to follow the regulations, they are disqualified from the game. This increases the pressure upon gamers in certain situations. They have to make split-second decisions that will determine whether they shall proceed to the next level or not.
The article “How video games can help in shaping up the new generation,” sheds light on some relevant studies in this regard. Like there was a study by the University of Rochester. They discovered that stressful game scenarios train the player’s brain to stay calm and make quick decisions.
Therefore, responding to issues in a calm and composed way is one of the basics that enhances the ability of an individual to perform multiple tasks at once.
Helps to retain information
Patterns of brain activity tend to change as a person ages. This makes it challenging for them to tackle more than one task at a time Researchers at the University of California understood this need of older adults. They designed a game called NeuroRacer to perk up the multi-tasking skills of the players.
It is a 3D video game in which players drive a car around a winding track while watching out for signs that pop up randomly. Players have to react to these signs according to the instructions provided at the beginning.
Enhancement of memory through such games is a vital component of multitasking. You can only perform two or more tasks together if you know how to fulfill each of them. Else, you will end up messing them all.
It is integral to mention that such games exist for children too. Parents can try out this strategy for kids who fail to retain information. They can try games like Street Racing Mania on Unlimited Gamezmo and see how it pans out.
Improves learning and integration
An essential requirement for multitasking is to learn and apply new information within seconds. For example, a surgeon must know how to implement the latest technique to an age-old procedure. Jay Pratt provides that video games can change your ability to learn. They enable you to integrate new information.
“Video game players can pick up very subtle, statistical irregularities in environments and use them to their advantage,”
It would be apt to state that video games are the future of education. They make a person pro at learning and help them act on new knowledge instantaneously.
You can miserably fail if you start doing more than one task at a time but cannot pay attention to either. A significant requirement of successful multitasking is the ability to sustain attention. You may be flicking between tasks, but as long as you know what to do in each, things are going to work out well.
Video games effectively teach this skill. They capture the player’s attention for the entire session of the game. Players can only advance to the next level if they achieve certain objectives of that level.
To sum it up, there is considerable research to suggest that games can be fun and learning. However, keep in mind that too much of something is always bad. If you are willing to get better at multitasking or want your kids to have these skills, games will surely help you out. But make sure you keep it steady and under control.
So adhere to the basics like picking the right game and considering the age of the players. Only then, you can reap the maximum cognitive benefits of a game.
If this article has convinced you in any way, let us know in the comments section!
Audrey Throne is a mother of a 3-year old and a professional blogger by choice. Throne is passionate about lifestyle, business, automotive, technology and management and blogs frequently on these topics.
Find her on Twitter: @audrey_throne.