The Impacts of Video Games on Cognition


Video game play has become a pervasive part of American culture. The dramatic increase in the popularity of video games has resulted in significant interest in the effects that video gaming may have on the brain and behavior. The scientific research to date indicates that some, but not all, commercial video games do indeed have the potential to cause large-scale changes in a wide variety of aspects of human behavior, including the focus of this review—cognitive abilities. More recent years have seen the rise of a separate form of video games, the so-called “brain games,” or games designed with the explicit goal of enhancing cognitive abilities. Although research on such brain games is still in its infancy, and the results have definitely not been uniformly positive, there is nonetheless reason for continued optimism that custom games can be developed that make a lasting and positive impact on human cognitive skills. Here, we discuss the current state of the scientific literature surrounding video games and human cognition with an emphasis on points critically related to public policy