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February 09, 2007

Everything bad is good

Did you know that playing videogames improves your vision?

Researchers at the University of Rochester have shown that people who played action video games for a few hours a day over the course of a month improved by about 20 percent in their ability to identify letters presented in clutter—a visual acuity test similar to ones used in regular ophthalmology clinics.

In essence, playing video game improves your bottom line on a standard eye chart.

"Action video game play changes the way our brains process visual information," says Daphne Bavelier, professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester. "After just 30 hours, players showed a substantial increase in the spatial resolution of their vision, meaning they could see figures like those on an eye chart more clearly, even when other symbols crowded in."

But to see these improvements, you've got to be shooting things and blowing stuff up at a rapid pace; more sedate -- read: boring -- games without the action do nothing for honing your Spidey Senses.

After about a month of near-daily gaming, the Tetris players showed no improvement on the test, but the Unreal Tournament players could tell which way the "T" was pointing much more easily than they had just a month earlier.

"When people play action games, they're changing the brain's pathway responsible for visual processing," says Bavelier. "These games push the human visual system to the limits and the brain adapts to it. That learning carries over into other activities and possibly everyday life."

Next up: chocolate and steak cure heart disease.

Posted by Mike Lief at February 9, 2007 08:07 AM | TrackBack


Next up: chocolate and steak cure heart disease.

They may not cure it, but dark chocolate contains stuff that's good for your heart in much the same way as red wine, and animal fat, including beef, is not nearly as bad for your heart as med. establishment has told us for a while. Our bodies need fat to process nutrients and as energy, and animal fat is better than vegetable fat, as its proteins help lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. So saith Nina Planck, anyway, and it frankly makes good sense to me that whole foods, including animal foods, have what our omnivorous bodies need to be healthy.

Posted by: Anwyn at February 10, 2007 10:14 PM

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