Science proves that playing video games could bring more benefits than imagined.

Pause your video game and tell your mom that playing with your PS4 increases your brain gray matter. Sure, your mom will not believe you (and yes, she will give you her famous speech about addiction and ludopathy).

However, a new research provides some clues suggesting that users of Action Video Games (AVGs) have more gray matter and greater connectivity in certain subregions of the brain.

The research team led by scientist Dezhong Yao decided to examine brain structure function of AVGs mainly due to the large accumulation of evidence that states expert level AVG users have higher cognitive skills compared to beginners.

For example, skillful AVG players show better attention skills and better hand-eye coordination. In addition, it was from prior knowledge that these same experts had more gray matter in several brain regions.

Gaming improves cognition

Armed with these clues, the team of scientists scanned the brains of 27 experts AVG players (ie, gamers that have been regional or national champions) and 30 beginners AVG players (ie, noobs). The aim of the experiment was investigating specific neural networks within the insular cortex that are associated with attention and sensorimotor function.

Skilled players have more functional connectivity in their cerebral hemisphere

The image shown below represents a map of the left brain and right brain and regions where there is a connection. Continuous white lines show where the experts AVG players had a significant improvement when compared with beginners.

Map of the left brain and right brain showing connection regions.

More connected regions are widely presented in the left hemisphere, these-ones regularly associated with calculations, logical and objective thinking. This could indicate why skilled players have a superior ability when it comes to solving problems within an action video game.

Other researchers have also found that experts AVG players had more gray matter in their brain compared to beginners. Particularly, in the left long insular gyrus and central insular sulcus. The gray matter is associated with information processing in the brain.

That could mean that players with more gray matter could process data more efficiently.

From now on, I think we have another reason to be immersed in our video games. Our cognitive abilities maybe are improving as we had fun on our consoles.

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