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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Review: Everything Bad is Good For You

This is a quick read, mostly because the content can really be summarized really quickly: current and new TV shows and video games are becoming more and more complex, with the result that they provide a cognitive load that's surprisingly large and capable of providing intellectual stimulation and teaching problem solving skills that are useful in many other aspects of life.

The possible expense, Johnson points out, is that we've become a frentic, soundbite society that's incapable of pondering long range problems and goals. But that's always been true throughout human history (a read of Collapse will provide sufficient proof of that), so common lamentations about how kids are wasting their time playing video games are largely irrelevant.

One study at the University of Rochester asked subjects to perform a series of quick visual recogniation tests... Regular gamers consistently outperformed non-gamers on all the skills measured by the study... Games were literaly making them perceive the world more clearly... the gaming population turned out to be consistently more social, more confident, and more comfortable solving problems creatively. They also showed no evidence of reduced attention spans compared with non-gamers.

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