Gaming, whose effects on physical and mental health are often stigmatized, has a positive effect on the brain. This is what the results of some studies on the subject tend to show. Daphne Bavelier and C. Shawn Green of the University of Rochester are among the first to take an interest in this topic. Their research has shown that this type of entertainment particularly promotes neuroplasticity.

As a reminder, neuroplasticity, or neuronal plasticity, is the term used by specialists to designate all the mechanisms by which neurons change and remodel throughout life.

In addition, the anti-gaming argument based on addiction does not hold true. In the end, it would be an addiction like any other.

Action games promote neuroplasticity

After several years of research, Bavelier and Green concluded that virtual games undeniably develop cognitive skills. In a July 2016 article in Scientific American , they note that playing action games regularly improves the ability to keep visual attention to details.

Distinguishing between small inscriptions, as on prescriptions, would then be easier for the gamer. In addition, it would have better ocular sensitivity to contrast. In real life, this ability would help him, for example, to drive better in the presence of thick fog.

An addiction like any other? 

Moreover, for Marc Palaus, doctoral student in neuroscience at the Open University of Catalonia, the brain's reward system is an important point in understanding addiction.

His theoretical model is that the reward system affects how different pleasurable stimuli reinforce a type of behavior. Marc understands by "pleasant stimuli" the satisfaction of the need to eat, to hydrate, etc. In the case of video games, this is essentially the pleasure of completing a quest or a mission, for example.

Once the brain receives pleasant stimuli, it asks for more. Therefore, a behavior (good or bad) is gradually reinforced by dint of repetition. Like the previous examples, video games are no exception.

“Roughly speaking, there isn't much of a difference between video game addiction and other addictions. " Marc Palaus

A simple passion

And by addiction, we can of course understand passion.

The very essence of a hobby is precisely to make us feel pleasant stimuli. This is the case, for example, with moviegoers. Watching movies is fun for them. So they ask for more. The same goes for DIY enthusiasts, who experience the same kind of satisfaction, or even for gardeners, art lovers or collectors.


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