Playing video games can help boost strategic thinking

Washington: Scientists have claimed that certain types of video games can help boost strategic thinking.

Scientists from Queen Mary University of London and University College London (UCL) recruited 72 volunteers and measured their `cognitive flexibility` - described as a person`s ability to adapt and switch between tasks, and think about multiple ideas at a given time to solve problems.

Two groups of volunteers were trained to play different versions of a real-time strategy game called StarCraft, a fast-paced game where players have to construct and organise armies to battle an enemy.

A third of the group played a life simulation video game called The Sims, which does not require much memory or many tactics.

All the volunteers played the video games for 40 hours over six to eight weeks, and were subjected to a variety of psychological tests before and after.

All the participants happened to be female as the study was unable to recruit a sufficient number of male volunteers who played video games for less than two hours a week.

The researchers discovered that those who played StarCraft were quicker and more accurate in performing cognitive flexibility tasks, than those who played The Sims.

Dr Brian Glass from Queen Mary`s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences said that the volunteers playing the most complex version of the video game performed the best in the post-game psychological tests.