Hardcore gamers have a quality that could make them better entrepreneurs or startup employees.
Several studies have shown that playing video games can help you improve your reasoning skills and speed up your reaction time, and now German researchers have found that gamers may learn faster, too.
Researchers Boris Suchan, Sabrina Schenk and Robert Lech at Ruhr-Universität Bochum conducted a study of 34 volunteers, half of whom self-reported that they played 15 or more hours of video games a week on a computer or console.
The participants were given a predictive task that required them to learn the meanings of cue cards. They were shown a combination of three cards with different symbols, then tasked with guessing whether that combination indicated sun or rain. The researchers provided feedback on their choices immediately, which allowed the participants to learn what the cards meant.
The gamers did better at combining the cards with the weather indicators than the non-gamers.
“Our study shows that gamers are better in analyzing a situation quickly, to generate new knowledge and to categorize facts — especially in situations with high uncertainties,” Schenk said in a press release.
While this study’s sample size is extremely small, its findings echo those of one done in 2014 and published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In it, researchers tasked gamers and non-gamers with identifying patterns among fuzzy blotches on a screen amid varying levels of background noise. While both groups performed equally at the start of the task, the gamers learned what they needed to do faster. Even a group of non-gamers who researchers tasked with playing 50 hours of games before the experiment performed better at the task.
But Florida State University psychologist Walter Boot pointed out to Popular Mechanics that it’s not like games have a magical ability to improve learning skills. It may just be that gamers may be more motivated to win, have better visual abilities and are fast learners to begin with.
Either way, it may be wise to start asking prospective employees how many virtual baddies they’ve blasted in the past week.