What types of video games improve brain function?

Article title: Impacts of Video Games on Cognition (and How the Government Can Guide the Industry

From Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences

From “brain games” designed to enhance mental fitness, to games used to improve real-world problems, to games created purely to entertain, today’s video games can have a variety of potential impacts on the brain. This article argues that it is the specific content, dynamics, and mechanics of individual games that determine their effects on the brain and that action video games might have particularly positive benefits.


Video game play has become a pervasive part of American culture. The dramatic increase in the popularity of video games has resulted in significant interest in the effects that video gaming may have on the brain and behavior. The scientific research to date indicates that some, but not all, commercial video games do indeed have the potential to cause large-scale changes in a wide variety of aspects of human behavior, including the focus of this review—cognitive abilities. More recent years have seen the rise of a separate form of video games, the so-called “brain games,” or games designed with the explicit goal of enhancing cognitive abilities. Although research on such brain games is still in its infancy, and the results have definitely not been uniformly positive, there is nonetheless reason for continued optimism that custom games can be developed that make a lasting and positive impact on human cognitive skills. Here, we discuss the current state of the scientific literature surrounding video games and human cognition with an emphasis on points critically related to public policy.

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Article details
Shawn Green and Aaron R. Seitz
The Impacts of Video Games on Cognition (and How the Government Can Guide the Industry)
Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences October 2015 2: 101-110, doi:10.1177/2372732215601121







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