Sunday, April 3, 2011

Brain Games

Since I've recently taken to video games, I was interested in this piece on Rough Type about what evidence suggests about whether or not said games turn your brain to mush.

I'm rooting for yes, because I have long distrusted my brain, and if through clever distractions I can reduce its ability to formulate deceptive schemes that will mislead me about the state of reality, that's probably all to the good.

The article's conclusion is less conclusive. It suggests that playing video games makes you better at doing things that you do in video games,  but does not necessarily improve other types of skills. As you might expect, it appears that

using media that train your brain to be good at dividing your attention appears to make you less able to carry out the kinds of deep thinking that require a calm, focused mind. Optimizing for divided attention means suboptimizing for concentrated attention.

Since I'm not sure whether my scheming subconscious relies more on multi-tasking or on calm, focused attention, I don't know if this is good or not. Still, the piece was pretty interesting.

Well, I'd better go fly my spaceship around.


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