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Video Games and Cognition Management

Question:

Discuss about the Video Games and Cognition Management.

Answer:

Introduction

Different parts of the brain can be used to influence different cognition abilities. In most cases, those who play video games demonstrate an increased performance in skills associated with cognition. Previously, research had focused on the effects of video games on cognition, but nowadays the effects seem to vary depending on the genre of the game (IOS Press, 2017). This information would be beneficial in the treatment of specific disorders. This essay analyses the assumptions made in the article “Genre may Impact Cognitive Training Using Video Games” based on the effect of playing video games on cognition.

The article “Genre may Impact Cognitive Training Using Video Games” provides various claims and assumptions. The first claim is that the genre of video games affects cognitive training. The assumption is that strategy games should be used to treat disorders related to memory while action games should be used for those related to moods. This assumption was derived from a study carried out on adults playing video games that indicated that the right stria terminalis is used when learning play action video games while the left cingulum is used in learning to play strategy video games (IOS Press, 2017).

The second claim is that video games can be used to enhance brain performance. The assumption is that working memory could predict the learning of action and strategy video games. This is based on the study mentioned earlier that revealed that learning to play the video games increased the performance of tasks related to working memory (IOS Press, 2017). Overall, the article reveals that different video games affect different cognitive functions. 

Viability of Claims

A relation exists between video games and cognition. Research on the transfer effects after non-gamers performed tasks after playing different video games, which included an action game, revealed that different games increased different aspects of cognition (Oei & Patterson, 2013).  This research proved that a link exists between video games and cognition, and the effects on cognition depend on the genre.

Action video games have been known to affect cognitive abilities. According to Collins (2017), research carried out indicated that action games affect visual attention. Visual attention is related to perception, which is affected by moods and emotions. As mentioned earlier, the stria terminalis is the part of the brain associated with moods and emotions. This assessment shows that both studies depict the same brain features.

The use of the Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) to test the effect of playing video games on the brain was advantageous. Oei and Patterson (2013) state that in most previous studies action games and non-action games transfer effects have been tested using transfer tasks that favor action games such as attentional blink task. The favor occurs because the abilities tested are mostly associated with action games. Therefore, using DTI in this study makes sure that the cognitive skills witnessed are not favoring any video game genre.

Theoretically, the transfer between gaming activities and behavioral activities can occur if similar elements exist. Moreover, the Identical Elements Theory introduced by Woodworth and Thorndike states that the transfer between two tasks occurs where similar elements exist (Taatgen, 2013). Based on this theory, if playing action games affects the right stria terminalis then enhanced performance may transfer effects to other behavioral tasks that use the left cingulum. This assessment makes the claims and assumptions plausible.

Some other studies have shown adverse impacts on the brain due to playing video games, which may affect cognition. A study carried out in the University of Montreal revealed that action games reduced the grey matter in the brain when the players navigated using non-spatial memory, which occurs when directions are memorized (Collins, 2017). These effects affect the hippocampus, which may result in disorders such as schizophrenia.  However, the researchers did not determine if the effects are long term.

Evidently, playing action video games has positive and detrimental influence on brain related functions. According to West et al. (2017), playing action video games using landmarks to navigate affects the brain positively by increasing the hippocampus. On the contrary, using direction to navigate reduces the grey matter in the hippocampus as mentioned earlier. Therefore, the scientists recommend the use of the correct navigation technique for action video games, which will positively affect cognition. 

Additionally, people should stop regarding video regarding positive and negative traits. The article being analyzed proves that different genres can be used for various purposes and other articles indicate adverse effects of some games. Due to these reasons, Karimpur and Hamburger (2015) suggest the use of use video games for the right purposes and in the correct manner.

Some studies show an alternative explanation how playing video games influences cognitive skills. Green and Bavelier (2012), state that the impact of such games on the brain is that they make it easier for an individual to learn new skills. This may mean that the transfer effects witnessed do not impact cognition abilities directly. Therefore, the assumptions one would still acquire new skills even if they were not related to cognition. In this case, the assumption on the effect of genre on specific disorders would not be reasonable.

Another alternative is that the effects of the video games may be attributed to the other feature of the games. For example, the themes used in action games enhances their impact on aggressive behavior (Groves & Anderson, 2015). Similarly, the features associated with the games used in the article may influence cognition. This influence may provide different results on the study conducted in the article.

Conclusion

Evidently, the studies used reveal that there is a relation between cognition and playing video games. Despite the alternative explanations for the claims made, the studies conducted on how playing video games impacts on one’s brain reveal that improved performance may affect cognition. However, less findings exist on how the different parts of the brain are influenced by genre. Therefore, the assumptions and claims made in the article are undisputed.

References

Collins, K. (2017). Video games can either grow or shrink part of your brain, depending on how you play. Quartz. Retrieved 13 April 2018, from https://qz.com/1050472/video-games-can-either-grow-or-shrink-part-of-your-brain-depending-on-how-you-play/

Green, C. S., & Bavelier, D. (2012). Learning, attentional control, and action video games. Current biology, 22(6), R197-R206.

Groves, C., & Anderson, C. (2015). Negative Effects of Video Game Play. Retrieved from https://public.psych.iastate.edu/caa/abstracts/2015-2019/15GA2.pdf

IOS Press. (2017). Genre may impact cognitive training using video games: Games that utilize distinctive mechanics may offer different benefits, reports restorative neurology and neuroscience. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 12, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171003093959.htm

Karimpur, H., & Hamburger, K. (2015). The future of action video games in psychological research and application. Frontiers in psychology, 6, 1747.

Oei, A. C., & Patterson, M. D. (2013). Enhancing cognition with video games: a multiple game training study. PLoS One, 8(3), e58546.

Taatgen, N. A. (2013). The nature and transfer of cognitive skills. Psychological review, 120(3), 439.

West, G. L., Konishi, K., Diarra, M., Benady-Chorney, J., Drisdelle, B. L., Dahmani, L., ... & Bohbot, V. D. (2017). Impact of video games on plasticity of the hippocampus. Molecular psychiatry.

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