(CBS Local) – According to a new study out of Germany, parents might want to let their kids finish their video game before they start their homework. Researchers at Ruhr-University Bochum say that video games are actually helping students to learn faster and increase brain activity.
“Our study shows that gamers are better in analyzing a situation quickly, to generate new knowledge and to categorize facts – especially in situations with high uncertainties,” lead author Sabrina Schenk said in the university’s press release. The neuropsychologists added that gamers are helping to train regions of the brain that are focused on learning and memory.
The study reportedly pitted two groups of children against each other in a learning competition that was focused on trying to predict the weather. 17 students who played video games at least 15 hours a week faced off against 17 kids who rarely play video games. The researchers found that the gamers were much better at understanding multiple factors to make the right predictions.
The children were then given an MRI, which revealed that the video game players showed more activity in the hippocampus; one of the brain’s memory centers. “Changes in the hippocampus can lead to a decrease in memory performance. Maybe we can treat that with video games in the future,” Schenk said.
The new results are challenging other recent studies that found that playing video games can be helpful, but only in small amounts. A 2014 study from Oxford University found that less than an hour of video game playing a day was helpful in improving a child’s emotional balance.