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NTU study says that playing puzzle games can improve mental flexibility!

Playing games are often tied with negative connotation. Many consider it as a waste of time.

However, that might not be the case anymore.

Earlier on Tuesday, a Nanyang Technological University (NTU) study released said playing puzzle games actually improve adults’ executive functions.

Conducted by by Assistant Professor Michael D. Patterson and his PhD student, Mr Adam Oei, it is found that adults who play the physics-based puzzle game regularly, for as little as an hour a day, had improved executive functions. These functions in one’s brain are important for making decisions in everyday life when having to deal with sudden changes in the environment.

mobile games study

In the study, four different mobile games were tested: a first-person shooter (Modern Combat); arcade (Fruit Ninja); real-time strategy (StarFront Collision); and a complex puzzle (Cut the Rope). About 52 NTU undergraduates who were non-gamers were selected to play an hour a day, five days a week on their iPhone or iPod Touch devices. This exercise lasted for four weeks, or a total of 20 hours.

After the gaming exercise, the study found that players of Cut the Rope could switch between tasks 33 per cent faster, were 30 per cent faster in adapting to new situations, and 60 per cent better in blocking out distractions and focusing on the tasks at hand than before training.

mobile games

The statement added the three tests to measure one’s executive functions were done a week after the undergraduates had finished playing their assigned game. This was to ensure the findings were not temporary gains due to motivation or arousal effects, it said.

“This finding is important because previously, no video games have demonstrated this type of broad improvement to executive functions, which are important for general intelligence, dealing with new situations and managing multitasking,” said Asst Prof Patterson.

“This indicates that while some games may help to improve mental abilities, not all games give you the same effect. To improve the specific ability you are looking for, you need to play the right game,” Mr Oei added.

So yes, you can go ahead and play your games because apparently, they make you smarter.

 

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