Video games in mainstream media news almost always speak exclusively of two things; the crazy, cross generation popularity of the Wii, and the rampant violence and aggression such games exhibit and seemingly promote.‚  Hardly ever do published and noted scientific conclusions regarding video games shed positive light on the medium, but today a glimmer of hope for progress shines through.

First person shooter gamers have been saying it for ages, claiming their reflexes and ability to line up headshots in a split second actually filter into real world proficiency, well today the scientific web emporium Nature has the science to back it up.

Researchers at the University of Rochester and Tel Aviv University have found that action-oriented video games can improve players’ vision and that such games offer players the chance to improve their contrast perception by as much as 58 percent.

Not only are action video games effective at improving aptitude, they are expected to even act as treatment to certain vision related ailments according to Daphne Bavelier, professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester.

“Video game training…may become a useful complement to eye-correction techniques that are routinely used in the clinic to improve eyesight.”

The groups’ conclusions were rigorous and definitive as the study subjected its participants to two game-related scenarios.‚  One section played Unreal Tournament 2004 and Call of Duty 2, two famed action and reflex type games, while the other played the casual and passive The Sims 2.

And after 50 hours of game time over 9 weeks, the group playing UT:2004 and Call of Duty 2 showed a 43 percent improvement in their ability to distinguish between shades of gray. Students in the second group showed no improvement.

“When people play action games, they’re changing the brain’s pathway responsible for visual processing. These games push the human visual system to the limits and the brain adapts to it, and we’ve seen the positive effect remains even two years after the training was over.”

This study excites me as now I have another sword to wield in my arsenal of nay-sayer weaponry.

via GamaSutra.

About The Author

Eddie Makuch is a Blast staff writer. Reach him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch.

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