Brain-boosting video games urged

Feb. 27, 2013 at 6:39 PM
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MADISON, Wis., Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Neuroscientists should work with video game designers to develop compelling digital games that boost brain function and improve well-being, two researchers say.

Daphne Bavelier of the University of Rochester and Richard J. Davidson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison are urging game creators and brain scientists to work together to develop games that train the brain and produce positive effects on behavior, such as decreasing anxiety, sharpening attention and improving empathy.

Video games have been linked with a number of negative results such as obesity, aggressiveness, antisocial behavior and even addiction.

"At the same time, evidence is mounting that playing games can have a beneficial effects on the brain," Bavelier and Davidson wrote in the journal Nature.

Last year Bavelier and Davidson presided over a meeting at the White House in which neuroscientists met with entertainment media experts to discuss ways of using interactive technology to further understanding of brain functions and provide tools for boosting attention and well-being, a UW Madison release said.

"Gradually, this work will begin to document the burning social question of how technology is having an impact on our brains and our lives, and enable us to make evidence-based choices about the technologies of the future, to produce a new set of tools to cultivate positive habits of mind," the two researchers wrote.

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