One of the oft-repeated claims of parents throughout the country is that various things will “rot your brain”. This has been claimed of television, of movies, of rock music, and of video games.
On that last one, at least, the opposite may be true.
In 2009, the Mind Research Network out of Albuquerque, New Mexico published research findings which indicated that Tetris, at least, stimulated brain development.
The Mind Research Network may have a name like a Dionne Warwick phone scam, but it is a serious organization that focuses on enhancing accurate diagnosis and treatments of traumatic brain injury, autism, addiction, psychosis, neurological development disorders and more.
Why monitor people playing video games?
“We did our Tetris study to see if mental practice increased cortical thickness, a sign of more gray matter,” Dr. Jung said Monday in a press statement.
“If it did, it could be an explanation for why previous studies have shown that mental practice increases brain efficiency. More gray matter in an area could mean that the area would not need to work as hard during Tetris play.”CNET
It is worth noting that one link in their process remains unforged. While they demonstrated that cortical thickness was increased, they did not establish a direct causal relationship between cortical thickness and brain efficiency. “Could mean” is not the same as “Does mean.”
It’s also worth noting that Tetris is a game which relies heavily on spacial analysis, as opposed to traditional platformers, race games or shooters. It’s quite likely that the positive effects received were related not merely to the function of playing a game but also to the style of game being played.
All of that said, playing Tetris helped make brains grow.
And aren’t you lucky… it’s available for free, online!
As an additional bonus, a Will Varley song that talks in passing about Nick Clegg’s video gaming (warning: some offensive language).
Question of the night: What’s your favorite cellphone game app?