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Gaming could help train docs, soldiers

Playing action video games primes the brain to make quick decisions andcould be incorporated into training programs for surgeons or soldiers,a study found.

Playing action video games primes the brain to make quick decisions and could be incorporated into training programs for surgeons or soldiers, a study found.


The researchers tested 18- to 25-year-olds who weren’t regular video-game players.


One group spent 50 hours playing the “The Sims 2” (Electronic Arts), a slow-paced strategy game. The other group took on “Call of Duty 2” (Activision Blizzard), a combat game, or “Unreal Tournament” (Epic Games), a shooter game. The subjects then performed timed computer tasks.


According to the report published yesterday in the journal Current Biology, the action game-players made decisions 25 percent faster than the strategy group, while answering the same number of questions correctly in the problem-solving exercise.


The findings suggest that games simulating stressful events or battles could be a training tool for real-world situations, according to researchers at the University of Rochester, led by Daphne Bavelier, a cognitive scientist.


“It’s not the case that the action game-players are trigger-happy and less accurate: They are just as accurate and also faster,” Bavelier said.

 
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