A study funded by the National Science Foundation found that playing video games has no considerable negative or positive effect on the cognitive ability of kids.
Our studies turned up no such links, regardless of how long the children played and what types of games they chose,” said Jie Zhang, associate professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Houston College of Education and a member of the research team.
Researchers conducted a study on 160 public school pre-teen students out of which 70% were from lower-income households. The kids played video games for 2.5 to a maximum of 4.5 hours per day. Next, researchers compared the game time with the cognitive skills of the kids in the standardized Cognitive Ability Test 7. One interesting thing about this research was that it used this test to evaluate performance instead of teacher-reported grades which the previous studies have relied upon.
Currently, there are about 400 million gamers in India, and 160 million in the US and an estimated 20% of these gamers are under the age of 18.
“Overall, neither duration of play nor choice of video game genres had significant correlations with the CogAT measures. That result shows no direct linkage between video game playing and cognitive performance, despite what had been assumed,” said May Jadalla, professor in the School of Teaching and Learning at Illinois State University and the study’s principal investigator.
The study also found that video games that claim to improve the players’ cognitive abilities did not have any impact on young adults.
The study was published in the Journal of Media Psychology and can change how parents and guardians view video games. “When it comes to video games, finding common ground between parents and young kids is tricky enough. At least now we understand that finding balance in childhood development is the key, and there’s no need for us to over-worry about video gaming,” said researcher Zhang.