Dr. Joy: The benefits of being a gamer

By WEEK Producer

April 4, 2012 Updated Apr 4, 2012 at 6:58 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- We have heard people say that playing video or electronic games is a waste of time, but can gaming be good for you?

That's the topic of exploration in tonight's Dr. Joy.

New research has put a positive look on the gaming industry.

Gaming:

- Boosts our creativity. Statistics showed that girls who played electronic games scored higher scores on the Torrance test of creativity.
- Boosts motor skills. Research showed that that neurosurgeons who played video games for at least 3 hours a week made 37 percent fewer errors in advanced surgical skill over non-gamers
-Increases speed thinking. Skilled players of the strategic game called Starcraft actually could make moves up to four times faster than most players
-Enhances decision making. Video players who played fast action games were 25 percent faster at making a correct decision than those who played slower paced games with the same accuracy

Studies also show:
-Women who do gaming increase their abilities to manipulate 3D objects
-Those who game can choices and act on them 4 times faster than those who do not game
-Gamers have been shown to be able to pay attention to six things at once without being confused while non-gamers can only do 4 things at once

When does gaming go over the line?

-When it becomes an addiction and you can't break away from gaming devises
-When gaming gets in the way of relationships and when gaming becomes more important than work, friends or partners

If you or someone you know appears to need assistance with compulsive or addictive gaming, check with a certified and licensed addiction counselor to an evaluation and skills to bring gaming into healthy boundaries.

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