First Person Shooters Increase Your Visual Acuity
Article by George Norman
On 31 Mar 2009
According to a study conducted and published by the Nature Neuroscience journal, playing first person shooter (FPS) computer games is good for your eyes. So the next time your mom tells you that TV will rot your mind, she may still have a valid point; but when she tells you you’ll ruin your eyes by spending so many hours playing computer games, you can just tell her that you are actually improving your visual acuity so she can mind her own business (stronger language would have fitted perfectly here, but we do not encourage that sort of thing; not when your mother is involved).

According to Nature Neuroscience, the people who took part in the study showed improvements in their ability to detect contrast and subtle differences in shades of gray upon using a training program very similar to the video and computer games we play in our day-to-day lives – a 58% omprovement compared to people that do not play FPS or any other type of video game. This improvement in the participant’s eyesight means that he could use software to treat amblyopia (lazy eye) or increase his capability to see during night conditions (when driving at night).


Professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester, Daphne Bavelier comments: “Normally, improving contrast sensitivity means getting glasses or eye surgery – somehow changing the optics of the eye. But we've found that action video games train the brain to process the existing visual information more efficiently, and the improvements last for months after game play stopped. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that contrast sensitivity can be improved by simple training. When people play action games, they're changing the brain's pathway responsible for visual processing. These games push the human visual system to the limits and the brain adapts to it, and we've seen the positive effect remains even two years after the training was over.”

This is good news for the gaming world as video and computer games have for a long time been the target of negative media. The latest example is the Change 4 Life’s ad campaign which stated video games will kill you. A poster of a child with a game console in hand and a banner stating “Risk and early death, just do nothing” have been posted online, causing quite a stir – details here.

Tags: Video games, Eyesight, FPS, Fisrt Person Shooters
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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