Daphne Bavelier, professor of brain and cognitive science, along with researchers Alexandre Pouget and C. Shawn Green, says video games can provide a potent training regimen for speeding up reactions in many types of real-life situations.
The researchers tested dozens of 18- to 25-year-olds who did not normally play video game. They divided the study subjects into two groups -- one group played 50 hours of the fast-paced action video games "Call of Duty 2" and "Unreal Tournament," while the other group played 50 hours of the slow-moving strategy game "The Sims 2."
After a training period, all of the subjects were asked to make quick decisions in several tasks designed by the researchers. The participants had to look at a screen, analyze what was going on and answer questions about the action as quickly as possible.
To ensure the effect wasn't limited to visual perception, the participants completed an analogous task that was auditory.
The study, published in the journal Current Biology, finds the action game players performed 25 percent faster than their strategy game playing peers.