Published on March 20th, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria0
Gaming Can Unlock Positive Impulses in Brain [Study]
As the parent of a nearly-addicted 11-year-old gamer with little interest in schoolwork, I’ve always long suspected that the key to advancing learning in many kids is burying the knowledge deep in a video game with lots of challenging levels.
My own kid will spend an entire day battling the different parts of the game, grabbing my phone or computer to find and implement research he needs to advance in the title, never thinking of it as any sort of work. And it turns out that studies are revealing that gaming indeed has much potential to “[activate] brain circuits involved in positive motivation.” The research involves a cancer-fighting-based video game called “Re-Mission” (it took me a minute to get that one), and the results of the study were published in the scientific journal PLoS ONE.
A press release about the gaming study indicates patients who played the game adhered more closely to chemotherapy and antibiotic regimes during cancer treatment, and the release quotes a researcher:
“Identifying a direct connection between the stimulation of neural circuits and game play is a key step in unlocking the potential for game-based tools to inspire positive behavior and improve health,” said Brian Knutson, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Stanford University and co-author of the article.
Co-author Steve Cole, Ph.D. added:
“Active involvement in video game play sparks positive motivation in a way that watching and hearing information does not… All participants in the study received the same information. It was the active participation in gameplay that made the big difference in motivation. This study helps refine our ‘recipe for success’ in harnessing the power of play in the service of health.”