Before we begin this story, we must first express our deep regrets to the following groups of people:
- Ye whose parents control your gaming time, for you will find yourself stuck to your books more often.
- Ye who use games to sharpen your minds, for there will be no sharpening.
- Ye who think that as gamers, you are superior creatures. You are not.
Remember all those gaming studies we’ve talked about in these pages? The ones where we rejoice that gaming may, after all, be the key to well-developed brains, and that you should keep on gaming with our blessings? Well, we were wrong. Well, no. Correction. The researchers were wrong. We were misled, and are as outraged as you are.
According to a new study (likely by a sadistic researcher), gaming does not, in fact, have any positive effect on your cognitive skills. Walter Boot at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign made non-gamers spend over 20 hours with three different video games, and found that they showed no improvement in their memory or their ability to multitask, which goes against all we have believed in so far — namely, that gamers have better-developed brains than non-gamers.
It isn’t all bad news, however. Boot does admit that a few hours of action games improves concentration, so if you’re having trouble paying attention, some hacking and slashing and blowing up might actually help. And to explain why the other studies said what they said, he flatters us — “Perhaps individuals with superior abilities are more likely to choose video gaming as an activity in the first place.”