Computer Games Are Good For You! Here’s Why — by Zhongwei Chen, University of Waterloo Professor

Professor & Canada Research Chair in Advanced Materials for Clean Energy Zhongwei Chen, is a huge advocate for video games and their correlation with advanced cognitive and problem-solving skills.

Computer games are often perceived as a lazy form of entertainment. Parents worry their kids may become gaming “addicts”, confining themselves in closed spaces as they tirelessly glare at their screen. It’s the falsified image media paints of children and their video gaming antics which causes many parents to discourage their kids from playing them altogether. In spite of all the negative stereotypes, there has been a bulk of recent studies showing evidence that points to video games and their positive effects on cognition.

According to Dr. Adam Eichenbaum, behavioural science researcher and author of “Video Games; Play That Can do Serious Good”, video games positively affect mental processes such as perception, memory and decision-making, all of which are considered to be the building blocks of intelligence. Chen could not agree more and describes the many benefits individuals can reap from being a gaming enthusiast.

He and many other intellectuals believe in computer games being valuable to real-life situations. The points below summarize how video games have helped to improve cognitive and problem solving skills.

Improved Spatial Attention

Playing video games improves your ability to perceive objects relative to space. Those who have video gaming experience have enhanced visual understanding and can almost immediately visualize an object rotated. This kind of practice helps them to navigate obstacles with very little information and involves processing information through visual representation with the mind alone.

Source: Times Higher Education

Reduced Impulsiveness

Because video games constantly make attempts to throw the player off-course, they understand how to not act immediately on a stimulus. Delaying impulses is an effective way to develop your willpower and stay focussed on your ultimate goal. Of course, a trait like this can serve beneficial to everyday scenarios like delaying gratification when training to eat healthier. Having the ability to reduce impulsiveness is a strategy to attaining or achieving something while being able to overcome obstacles.

Rapid Decision Making

Video games often create scenarios where the stakes are high. The player is put under pressure to either defeat the enemy or keep their character alive. This creates a sense of urgency for the player to act rapidly and make efficient decisions.


Improved Abstract Reasoning

Video game players are also able to easily identify patterns, logical rules and trends in new data without having these rules laid out for them. Because abstract ideas are not concrete, much like concepts in video games, they are forced to think outside of the box in order to find a solution to the obstacle at hand. Creativity is a skill everyone should learn to develop as it enhances one’s cognitive skills.

All of the cognitive qualities that video games are proven to strengthen can help individuals to navigate everyday life successfully. Professor Zhongwei Chen urges computer game skeptics to be more receptive to video games and dismiss their preconceived ideas of them being a waste of time.