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News Release

Video games: bad or good for your memory?

18 April 2013 Leiden, Universiteit

After the horrific shooting sprees at Columbine High School in 1999 and Virginia Tech in 2007, players of violent video games, such as First Person Shooter (FPS) games, have often been accused in the media of being impulsive, antisocial, or aggressive.

Positive effects

However, the question is: do First Person Shooter games also have positive effects for our mental processes?  At the University of Leiden,  we investigated whether gaming could be a fast and easy way to improve your memory.

Develop an adaptive mindset

Indeed, the new generations of FPS (compared to strategic) games are not just about pressing a button at the right moment but require the players to develop an adaptive mindset to rapidly react and monitor fast moving visual and auditory stimuli.

Gamers compared to non-gamers

In a study published in Psychological Research Journal, Dr. Lorenza Colzato and her fellow researchers compared, on a task related to working memory, people who played at least five hours weekly with people who never played video games.  

More flexible brain

The researchers found that gamers outperformed non-gamers. They suggest that video game experience trains your brain to become more flexible in the updating and monitoring of new information enhancing the memory capacity of the gamers.

Video about the research


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