Video Games Change Your Brain

Jing Feng and Ian Spence


After more than three decades of development, video games are now increasingly used for purposes other than entertainment. These games play a role in fields as diverse as education, cognitive training, physical exercise, and rehabilitation. Developing a good game for meaningful purposes requires a comprehensive understanding of the critical characteristics that trigger the training benefits. In this paper, we present a comparative psychological analysis of the cognitive requirements of several different genres of computer game. We also review the experimental research that has focused on the cognitive and neuropsychological changes that game playing may induce in the brain. We discuss various fields of application for video games with serious purposes and suggest guidelines for designing such games based on psychological theory and experimental research in cognition and perception.