Sometimes scientific studies come a little too late to have an impact. In this case, I really could’ve used this research when I was a teenager.
A study from the University of Glasgow tested the effect video games had on university students’ communication skills, resourcefulness, and adaptability – otherwise known as ‘graduate attributes’. To the horror of parents everywhere, the studies found gaming improved all three.
Yep. Video games help young people develop useful skills.
Students were asked to come into the lab and play games over an eight-week period. Their options included many popular games and a couple indie titles:
- Borderlands 2
- Portal 2
- Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
- Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos
- Team Fortress 2
- Gone Home
- Papers, Please
At the end of the trial, the participants’ graduate attributes were compared to the control group. The results look promising.
Lead researcher Matthew Barr said, “The findings suggest that such game-based learning interventions have a role to play in higher education. Graduate attributes are those generic skills such as problem solving, communication, resourcefulness or adaptability which are considered desirable in graduates, particularly where employ-ability is concerned.”
He added, “My research is perhaps what every parent may or, in the case of some, may not like to hear.” That’s the truth.
Video games get a bad rap.
Worried parents, journalists, and politicians have long speculated that gaming leads to deviant behavior, hyper-sexuality, and violence. Some of these claims have been debunked at some level and reinforced at others, but now we have evidence that gaming can be GOOD for players! At least on academic level, where these ‘graduate attributes’ are important.
There are other concerns with gaming too much, such as lack of exercise, but developers of the latest VR and AR devices hope change that too. Just look at Pokemon GO! It managed to actually get people outside and exercising (and arrested in Russia).
So now you can binge play with a little less guilt. And go ahead and forward this research paper to your parents. They may still be skeptical about the benefits of gaming, so remind them that gaming is good for aging adults too.
So… Gaming guilt gone, right?