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Running head HOW VIDEO GAMES BENEFIT YOUR BRAIN How Video Games Benefit Your Brain Jing Feng and Ian Spence University of Toronto Abstract After more than three decades of development video games are now increasingly used for purposes other than entertainment These games play a role in fields as diverse as education cognitive training physical exercise and rehabilitation Developing a good game for meaningful purposes requires a comprehensive understanding of the critical characteristics that trigger the training benefits In this paper we present a comparative psychological analysis of the cognitive requirements of several different genres of computer game We also review the experimental research that has focused on the cognitive and neuropsychological changes that game playing may induce in the brain We discuss various fields of application for video games with serious purposes and suggest guidelines for designing such games based on psychological theory and experimental research in cognition and perception How Video Games Benefit Your Brain More than three decades after their introduction computer games are no longer solely for entertainment Video games have been used in the classroom as educational tools in hospitals for clinical treatment and rehabilitation and in the military for training various skills Middle school students in the US are using SimCity a game by Electronic Arts to design a future metropolis in a national urban planning competition Future City Competition 2008 rehabilitation departments in hospitals like Minnesota s Northwestern Hospital have been using the Nintendo Wii to help their patients achieve physical exercise goals Drummond 2008 and the US has developed America s Army a first person shooter FPS action game for recruiting and training soldiers America s Army 2008 The objective of most non entertainment uses of video games is to change the player s behavior in some way The goal may be a simple one obviously suited to video game training

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