If you grew up begging your parents for “just five more minutes” to keep playing your Super Nintendo, they probably warned you that gaming was “rotting your brain.” But new research shows those hours of screen time trying to beat Super Mario Brothers wasactuallygiving your brain a boost. A newstudyfrom Spain finds that playing video games as a child can improve working memory later in life.
Researchers examined the cognitive skills of 27 adults between 18 and 40 while playing Super Mario 64. And they found that those who were avid gamers as adolescents did better with working memory tasks - even if they don’t play anymore. Study authorMarc Palausexplains that video games don’t damage our brains, they’re actually a challenge for our minds and their increasing difficulty makes them more appealing to us.
There has been lots of research on video games and their effects on the brain, and many studies have found positive effects, but this one takes it further to show how the cognitive changes can happen even years after people lay down their controllers. Palaus says, “Video games are a perfect recipe for strengthening our cognitive skills, almost without our noticing.”