November 22, 2012

Teens that play two hours of video games per day found to outperform doctors in virtual surgery

Here's some interesting news to tell Mom next time she reminds you to turn off your video game and start your homework: Scientists at University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston pitted high school sophomore gamers, college gamers, and medical residents against each other to see which group would perform better using virtual surgery tools. High school students slightly outperformed both groups.
In the video above, Dr. Sami Kilic, Director of Texas Robotic Gynecology for UTMB, explains how the experiment worked. High school sophomores who played video games two hours per day, college students who played four hours a day, and medical residents -- the majority of whom haven't spent as much time gaming -- performed a series of tasks on a machine that replicated surgeries. The machine also measured skills in 32 categories, including hand-eye coordination, pressure on the controls, and time.
Even though high school students slightly outperformed both other groups, Kilic noted that the medical residents were not trained with the same virtual surgery tools and that students interested in a career in medicine should still focus on academics (not just gaming).
Earlier this year, researchers in New Zealand developed a video game designed to treat depression in teenagers. Players aimed to destroy "gloomy negative automatic thoughts" in an interactive fantasy setting. Forty-four percent of players were cured of depression, compared to 26% of those in regular therapy.
Another study, researched over the past four years, found that teens who play video games that glorify reckless driving may be more likely to engage in unsafe driving behaviors in real life.

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