50 Shades of Video Game Gray

We all grew up hearing adults tell us to eat carrots so that we could have better eyesight. But what about nighttime vision? This study explains that a person's night-time vision gets better after playing electronic action games.

Scientists found that video games involving aiming and shooting at virtual objects on a computer screen can significantly increase people's ability to see objects in twilight conditions, when colors fade into different shades of gray. Researchers have found that keeping your eyes trained on a video game can be just as effective, or even more so, as using contact lenses, glasses, or getting surgery.

In the study, the scientists tested the contrast sensitivity of a group of people who regularly played action-heavy video games, Call of Duty, where the player has to shoot at virtual targets. The scientists found that the group's ability to detect different shades of gray was 58 per cent better on average than people who had not played the games.

The people who were not regular game players were then put through a training regime involving hours of console gaming. When they had completed the course, their contrast sensitivity had improved by an average of 43 %.

So why does detecting all of these shades of gray matter? Well, when you're out in the dark, maybe driving through the fog at dusk, you'll be able to detect objects such as animals crossing the road, or make out road signs more clearly.

Daphne Bavelier, professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester in New York, sums up the study perfectly. "It shows that if you need to improve your vision, you can train your brain to get better at using the visual information you get," she said. 

And what better way to train your brain than doing it while playing video games?


This was a great entry for a few reasons. One you hear all the time people complaining about modern games looking too gray and there might actually been a benefit to that, crazy. Two is that there's constant information coming out that playing video games trains your brain to do other things better too. Like train you to solve complex puzzles faster or spot hidden objects. Depending on the "training" your cognitive skills could improve in any given area. It's why I find stuff like this so cool because of how your brain adapts to this


I think video games can be used for a better good all around. This entry was very interesting. I want them to name something a virtual game couldn't help with. It's amazing how far we have come in a technological sense. My problem with shooters in general is the damage it does to you're attention span. It's too quick to actually comprehend anything, and you reactions turn into reflexes and muscle memory. I think there is a long way to go with video games and what a video game could actually be.

It's great to hear about the actual positives one can experience from playing video games for once! Most news sources love to jump on anything that could be seen as a negative, but won't do anything about stories that could are good things. Video games can teach people to do a lot of things, given the right game. I know for a fact that many people learn other languages—or even to read their own—through playing video games like Pokemon and the like. Video games can do a lot more good than harm, and it's great to see people examining that.

This is actually really interesting. I just finished a couple of posts on the effects of video games on the adolescent brain, but never even dove into the positive effects they can have on the body! It's crazy to think that gaming can have that significant an effect on your ability to distinguish different shades of gray. For all the negative publicity that gaming sometimes gets, there are definitely some benefits to kicking back and relaxing with a game for a few hours! If you want, you can check out my posts here and here.

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