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3. Attention: Hacks 34–43 > 43. Improve Visual Attention Through Video Games

Improve Visual Attention Through Video Games

Some of the constraints on how fast we can task-switch or observe simultaneously aren’t fixed. They can be trained by playing first-person action video games.

Our visual processing abilities are by no means hardwired and fixed from birth. There are limits, but the brain’s nothing if not plastic. With practice, the attentional mechanisms that sort and edit visual information can be improved. One activity that requires you to practice lots of the skills involved in visual attention is playing video games.

So, what effect does playing lots of video games have? Shawn Green and Daphne Bavelier from the University of Rochester, New York, have researched precisely this question; their results were published in the paper “Action Video Game Modifies Visual Attention,” 1 available online at http://www.bcs.rochester.edu/people/daphne/visual.html#video .


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