Green (2015) - 601121 research-article2015 BBSXXX10.1177\/ Insights from the Behavioral and Brain SciencesGreen and Seitz Health The Impacts of Video

Green (2015) - 601121 research-article2015 BBSXXX10.1177/...

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Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences 2015, Vol. 2(1) 101–110 © The Author(s) 2015 DOI: 10.1177/2372732215601121 bbs.sagepub.com Health Tweet Playing some, but not all, video games can improve percep- tion and cognition. Many issues remain, though, particularly how to best translate research to produce public good. Key Points Playing some types of video games, particularly “action” video games, results in widespread enhance- ments in cognitive function. There is evidence that other types of games can also lead to similarly positive outcomes—for instance, cer- tain custom designed “brain games.” Many questions remain as to how to best translate the base science to produce public good. Many questions remain as to how to best regulate the industry promoting games for cognitive enhance- ment. Effective governmental regulations would provide an incentive structure for better science to be conducted, in particular, by recognizing that scientific evidence for product efficacy is typically graded, rather than all-or-none. Introduction Over the past half century, video game play has gone from being a somewhat fringe activity to a ubiquitous part of mod- ern culture. While the first dedicated video game console (the Magnavox Odyssey, released in 1972) sold only about 300,000 units, the three major consoles released in the mid- 2000s (the Xbox 360, the PlayStation 3, and the Wii) sold more than 84 million units each. More than 40% of Americans report playing video games regularly (i.e., more than 3 hr a week), and counter to impressions that video games are the exclusive domain of male children and teenagers, video game use cuts across nearly all American demographics, with 27% of players being above 50 years of age and 44% of players being female. This shift toward gaming has resulted in a concomitant decrease in time spent watching television or movies (Entertainment Software Association, 2015). 601121 BBS XX X 10.1177/2372732215601121Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences Green and Seitz research-article 2015 1 University of Wisconsin–Madison, USA 2 University of California, Riverside, USA Corresponding Author: C. Shawn Green, 1202 W. Johnson St., University of Wisconsin–Madison, Madison, WI 53706, USA. Email: [email protected] The Impacts of Video Games on Cognition (and How the Government Can Guide the Industry) C. Shawn Green 1 and Aaron R. Seitz 2 Abstract Video game play has become a pervasive part of American culture. The dramatic increase in the popularity of video games has resulted in significant interest in the effects that video gaming may have on the brain and behavior. The scientific research to date indicates that some, but not all, commercial video games do indeed have the potential to cause large-scale changes in a wide variety of aspects of human behavior, including the focus of this review—cognitive abilities. More recent years have seen the rise of a separate form of video games, the so-called “brain games,” or games designed with the explicit goal of enhancing cognitive abilities. Although research on such brain games is still in its infancy, and the results have definitely
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