How Video Games Might Actually Help Our Brains

In October, 29,000 neuroscientists gathered in Chicago to discuss new research in their sprawling field at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting. Amid mountains of abstracts on every conceivable aspect of brain science, there were a surprising number of studies about an unlikely subject: video games. Plenty of pop cultural bandwidth has been devoted to showing how video games harm us-from ostensibly making us less social to making us more violent-there’s been remarkably little scientific study of whether they do anything good for us. “The probable negative effects of video game playing are well discussed in the media,” wrote one presenter, Sabrina Schenk, in her abstract. “But the positive effects are almost completely neglected.” That’s changing. Because not only are video games increasingly diverse and played by more people, they’re…

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