Excuse me doctor, but what video games do you play?



Back in August, researchers in Boston for the American Psychological Association's annual convention presented on a series of studies on video games as learning tools. There were apparently a very wide range of students and learning situations - increasing the problem solving potential of younger students, improving suturing skills for laparoscopic surgeons, improving scientific thinking by playing World of Warcraft.

They concluded that certain types of video games can have benefits. The study that caught my eye compared those surgeons who already play video games to those who don't play them. After they take into account differences in age, years of medical training, and the number of laparoscopic surgeries performed, guess what they found?

"The single best predictor of their skills is how much they had played video games in the past and how much they played now," said Iowa
State University psychologist Douglas Gentile. "Those were better predictors of surgical skills than years of training and number of surgeries performed. So the first question you might ask your surgeon is how many of these [surgeries] have you done, and the second question is, "Are you a gamer?"

Archives of Surgery abstract

American Psychological Association's 2008 convention

Douglas A. Gentile, Iowa State University Media Research Lab

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