Do Gamers Have Faster Brains?
Dr. Michael Addicott
It has been speculated that dedicated gamers may have faster reaction times than ordinary average individuals, a hypothesis which has been supported by research in 2010. We conducted a study in 2005 to identify this research question and assist in the formulation of the hypothesis. In order to attract a suitable research study group, a LAN party was used as the venue. Twenty two gamers aged between 22 and 35 were conducted to a secure facility and immediately entered into competition using Halo2 as a stimulus.
After appoximately 90 minutes of competition, the play was suspended and the player rankings were logged. At the same workstations, user experience was immediately toggled over to the Cognitive Labs working memory and recall games featuring speed of processing measures. The top quartile scored at or above the 99.9th percentile compared to ‘norms’ for all users. The second quartile scored above the 97th percentile, The third above 95th and the fourth above 93. Data from four respondents who became distracted was not included. The results suggest that gamers are indeed faster. Other studies imply an age-adjusted differential of up to 100 milliseconds in response time.
The data shows that intense workouts can improve cognitive speed at any age, which is a measure that links very closely to life expectancy in several independent studies, notably those of Ian Drury which examine IQ, reaction time, and life expectancy. The conclusion includes the finding that there is a substantive link between cognitive speed and and life expectancy, with the unknown variable being causality. Although the practice effect may account for some improvement up through a certain number of sessions (seven, for example) maintaining and enhancing cognitive speed and creating cognitive reserve appear to protect against the early onset of cognitive decline along with other diet and exercise approaches.