Shoot 'Em Up Games Improve Decision-Making
Action gamers outperformed Sims players
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 14, 2010 6:00 AM CDT
A screen grab from "Unreal Tournament III."   (AP Photo/Midway)
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(Newser) – Playing fast-paced shooter video games makes people better decision-makers, according to a new study. Researchers tested young people ages 18 to 25 who weren't regular gamers and split them into two groups. The group that spent 50 hours playing action games like Call of Duty 2 and Unreal Tournament performed 25% better on decision-making tests than a group of players who spent 50 hours on slow-moving strategy game The Sims 2, the Independent reports.

Researchers say that the action gamers had a "heightened sensitivity" that helped them make fast and accurate decisions. "It's not the case that the action game players are trigger-happy and less accurate—they are just as accurate and also faster," said study co-author Daphne Bavelier, a cognitive scientist who has spent years studying how computer games affect the brain and eyes. "Action game players make more correct decisions per unit time. If you are a surgeon or you are in the middle of a battlefield, that can make all the difference."