Gamers, Rejoice! Science Says Video Games Are Good For Your Brain

There's a stigma associated with intense videogamers: They're sometimes unfairly labeled as socially-awkward introverts.

But a recent study has gamers across the world rejoicing in unison.

Stereotypes aside, researchers have found consistent videogame habits are good for gamers' brains.

The study, led by researchers from the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China and Macquarie University in Sydney, suggests expert gamers have more grey matter and better brain connectivity.

This isn't the first conclusion of its kind.

This type of evidence has been consistently emerging for years, supporting videogames' positive effects on hand-eye coordination, multi-tasking skills and memory.

This study, however, consisted of performing MRI scans on 27 Action Video Gamers — those who are regional or national champions (AVGs) — and 30 amateur gamers, as opposed to conducting cognitive ability tests.

The MRIs allowed researchers to focus on the relevant portion of the brain, the insular cortex, which is associated with perception, attention and motor control.

Action Video Games are games that put your reaction times and hand-eye coordination to the test, like fighting, shooting or racing.

The results showed expert gamers, compared to the less-experienced, had greater connections between different sub-regions and networks of the brain.

Most of the connections were found on the left side, which is the part of the brain associated with organization, calculations and objective thinking.

They also found more grey matter, often associated with better cognitive function and memory, among AVGs, supporting previous research.

While you may be tempted to put down the brainteaser and pick up a controller, there are other types of repetitive, skill-based activities (like sports, driving a car and drawing) that are likely to yield similar results, if gaming's not your thing.

Citations: Enhanced functional connectivity and increased gray matter volume of insula related to action video game playing (Scientific Reports)