The last few years has saw the rise of many, many games that were released for mobile platforms such as smart phones and tablets. Many should be able to remember the largest game fads in mobile phone history: Angry Birds, Candy Crush Saga, and even the late Flappy Bird. With the rise of games for these platforms also comes the increasingly popular movement to create games that will purportedly help increase memory and learning capabilities – basically all functions that have to do with the brain.
One such game (name omitted), was a ‘piece of art’ created in the University of California, San Francisco. These games ‘change as you play’ getting harder or easier depending on your performance. The researchers’ goals were to create a game that was so advanced that it almost had a mind of its own, testing our brains to improve memory and cognitive function.
However, when there is this much hype concerning games that might potentially positively influence the brain, one must beg the question: does it really work? The answer, according to most neuroscientists, is ‘yes and no’.
While there are games out there that are extremely fun and can really challenge your brain, there isn’t really enough scientific proof to support the case.
It is true that playing games does help train the brain, however, the underlying thing is that it only aids the brain in that game. Meaning, if you’re good at Chess, and are progressively playing against harder opponents, your increase in mental ability might only allow you to perform better critical analyses and decisions during Chess play.
Some scientists believe that when concerning the brain and the use of these games that ‘mentally engage’ your brain to allow for higher levels of thinking, there simply isn’t enough evidence that this mental prowess will apply to other parts of your life.
Simply, there are better ways out there where you can engage your brain that will actually benefit you better: exercise, reading, and learning a new instrument or language are all ways that can open your brain up better than playing challenging games, and there is better evidence to support these. Keep these in mind the next time and pick up a book instead.