Computer Games and Fine Motor Skills
ABSTRACT The study seeks to determine the influence of computer games on fine motor skills in young adults, an area of incomplete understanding and verification. We hypothesized that computer gaming could have a positive influence on basic motor skills, such as precision, aiming, speed, dexterity, or tremor. We examined 30 habitual game users (F/M - 3/27; age range 20-25 years) of the highly interactive game Counter Strike, in which players impersonate soldiers on a battlefield, and 30 age- and gender-matched subjects who declared never to play games. Selected tests from the Vienna Test System were used to assess fine motor skills and tremor. The results demonstrate that the game users scored appreciably better than the control subjects in all tests employed. In particular, the players did significantly better in the precision of arm-hand movements, as expressed by a lower time of errors, 1.6 ± 0.6 vs. 2.8 ± 0.6 s, a lower error rate, 13.6 ± 0.3 vs. 20.4 ± 2.2, and a shorter total time of performing a task, 14.6 ± 2.9 vs. 32.1 ± 4.5 s in non-players, respectively; p < 0.001 all. The findings demonstrate a positive influence of computer games on psychomotor functioning. We submit that playing computer games may be a useful training tool to increase fine motor skills and movement coordination.
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ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Manual skill is important for surgeons, but current methods to evaluate sensory-motor skills in applicants to a surgical residency are limited. OBJECTIVE: To develop a method of testing sensory-motor skill using objective and reproducible virtual reality simulation. METHODS: We designed a set of tests on a 3-dimensional surgical simulator with head and arm tracking, colocalization, and haptic feedback: (1) “trajectory planning in a simulated vertebra,” ie, 3-dimensional memory and orientation; “hemostasis in the brain,” ie, motor planning, sequence, timing, and precision; and “choose the softest object,” ie, haptic perception. We also derived a weighted combined score for all tasks. RESULTS: Of the 55 consecutive applicants to a neurosurgery residency approached, 46 performed at least 1 task, and 36 performed all tasks. For the trajectory planning task, the distance from target ranged from 3 to 30 mm, with 25 of 36 in the 6- to 18-mm range. In the motor planning test, the duration between cauterization attempts ranged between 5 and 22.5 seconds, peaking at 10 to 12.5 seconds in 15 of 36 participants. In the haptic perception test, linear regression demonstrated increased variability in performance with increasing difficulty of task (R2 = 0.6281). In all tests, performance followed a roughly bell-shaped curve. The combined weighted score of all tests demonstrated a better bell curve distribution, with scores ranging from 0.275 to 0.71 (mean, 0.47; median, 0.4775; SD, 0.1174). CONCLUSION: Our study represents a first step in the direction of an objective, standard, computer-scored test of motor and haptic ability.Neurosurgery 01/2013; 73:S116-S121. DOI:10.1227/NEU.0000000000000089 · 3.03 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Video gaming is a highly pervasive activity, providing a multitude of complex cognitive and motor demands. Gaming can be seen as an intense training of several skills. Associated cerebral structural plasticity induced has not been investigated so far. Comparing a control with a video gaming training group that was trained for 2 months for at least 30 min per day with a platformer game, we found significant gray matter (GM) increase in right hippocampal formation (HC), right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and bilateral cerebellum in the training group. The HC increase correlated with changes from egocentric to allocentric navigation strategy. GM increases in HC and DLPFC correlated with participants' desire for video gaming, evidence suggesting a predictive role of desire in volume change. Video game training augments GM in brain areas crucial for spatial navigation, strategic planning, working memory and motor performance going along with evidence for behavioral changes of navigation strategy. The presented video game training could therefore be used to counteract known risk factors for mental disease such as smaller hippocampus and prefrontal cortex volume in, for example, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and neurodegenerative disease.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 29 October 2013; doi:10.1038/mp.2013.120.Molecular Psychiatry 10/2013; Advance online publication. DOI:10.1038/mp.2013.120 · 15.15 Impact Factor