Monitor makers, AOC, want to assuage any guilt you might have over sitting playing games for hours by reassuring you that gaming is healthy.* Whether that’s by boosting your brainpower, decision making or general positive sense of wellbeing, there are lots of reasons to game.
You know what else is healthy? Obsessing over your choice of gaming screen. Check out our pick of the best gaming monitors around today.
The rather odd-ball blog post appears on the AOC Gaming site where you can learn a little about their dedicated gaming monitors too. Some of the recent AGON panels have been a bit hit and miss, likethe impressive AG271QG[hit] andthe hazy AG352QCX[miss], but I’m currently testing a really quite excellent ultrawide G-Sync AGON screen and it’s definitely keeping me healthy by its mere presence.
The first gaming benefit AOC highlight is the boost to your cognitive abilities. “Memory, attention span and logical thinking are all stimulated by playing certain games,” the piece explains. “Just a few hours of gaming a week can help improve them all, regardless of age.”
Strangely the AOC page doesn’t cite its sources, but helpfully their excellent PR peops (cheers Elena) have provided us with PDF links to the studies they are referencing. Such as The Benefits of Playing Video Games, Granic, I., Lobel, A., & Engels, R. C. (2014), published in the American Psychologist journal.
Secondly, there’s the improvements to your visual processing capabilities, as shown in Increasing Speed of Processing With Action Video Games, Dye, M. W., Green, C. S., & Bavelier, D. (2009).
“Gaming often requires players to rapidly switch their attention from one part of the screen to another, while being aware of what is happening all around,” explains AOC. “This means that your brain is continuously learning to split your attention more quickly and efficiently. This vastly improves processing of incoming visual information, and enhances hand-eye coordination.”
A gamer’s improved ability to make snap decisions is helped by their preferred hobby, as shown in both Real-Time Strategy Game Training: Emergence of a Cognitive Flexibility Trait, Glass, B. D., Maddox, W. T., & Love, B. C. (2013) and Brain plasticity through the life span: learning to learn and action video games. Bavelier, D., Green, C. S., Pouget, A., & Schrater, P. (2012).
“Playing videogames can help you improve and speed up your capacity to make these decisions, without sacrificing accuracy,” says AOC. “When you deal with an enemy or develop an action strategy, you make key decisions that directly impact success or failure of the game, often at extremely short or split-second notice.”
Gaming can also help heal the ill, as explained in the study,Therapeutic Uses of Active Videogames: A Systematic Review, Staiano, A. E., & Flynn, R. (2014).
“Hospital rooms equipped with game stations, which are becoming more and more popular, offer a more familiar environment for children to share fun and entertainment with other patients, as well as having the obvious benefits of social interaction,” explains AOC. “With several studies linking happiness to health, could this help children recover more quickly and allow them to go home sooner?”
Finally, gaming also engenders better teamwork within groups. This was studied last year in The effects of playing cooperative and competitive video games on teamwork and team performance, A Badatala, J Leddo, A Islam, K Patel, P Surapaneni (2016).
“Gaming can be a perfect form of training to learn what collaboration at work means,” says AOC. “You have the chance to work together with friends, each one with different skills, knowledge and values, sharing your ideas with others.”
Of course AOC aren’t just telling us all this so you can bask in the afterglow of knowing you’re keeping your brain healthy, they’re doing it so next time someone gives you grief for drawing the curtains to keep that sunny day from glaring off your gaming monitor you can turn around and drop some social science.
Well, that and with the hope that you’ll scan to the bottom of the blog post and read about the healthy technology they bake into their own screens too.
*Just remember this PSA… “spending time in front of a computer can lead to fatigue, so it is vitally important that computer use forms part of a balanced and healthy life. Spending time outside, playing sports and being with friends are all equally important.”