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Games and fluid intelligence

Hot from the Office of Naval Research’s warfighter performance department…

“We have discovered that video game players perform 10 to 20 percent higher in terms of perceptual and cognitive ability than normal people that are non-game players,” […] for 50 years, it was believed that no training could improve a person’s “fluid intelligence” — the ability “to work outside your present mindset, to think beyond what you have been taught, to go beyond your experience to solve problems in new and different ways.” But video games, the Navy researcher believes, are proving to be able to improve fluid intelligence, [and with effects that last] for two to two-and-a-half years.

This is not isolated research. Several studies, with implications for older gamers, have robustly overturned the myth that the brain always stops ‘learning’ after the age of 40. Other research, with implications for using videogames as learning tools, has also questioned the educationalist idea that individuals have so-called “preferred learning styles”. Videogames seem set to play a key part in keeping an increasingly elderly population mentally fit and productive.

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