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: 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