AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 29, Number 2, 2020


Playing 3D Video Games May Boost Memory Formation

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According to neurobiologists from the University of California, Irvine, playing three-dimensional video games can boost the formation of memories and improve hand-eye coordination and reaction times. For their research, researchers recruited non-gamer college students to play either a video game with a passive, two-dimensional environment (“Angry Birds”) or one with an intricate, 3D setting (“Super Mario 3D World”) for 30 minutes per day over two weeks. Before and after the two-week period, the students took memory tests that engaged the brain’s hippocampus and results showed that the students playing the 3D video game improved their scores on the memory test, while the 2D gamers did not. The boost was not small either. Memory performance increased by about 12 percent, the same amount it normally decreases between the ages of 45 and 70. As for the reason why, researchers say the 3D games have a few things the 2D ones do not. “They’ve got a lot more spatial information in there to explore,” the lead researcher said. “Second, they’re much more complex, with a lot more information to learn. Either way, we know this kind of learning and memory not only stimulates but requires the hippocampus.” To read more about this study, click here.


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