If you need a fast and accurate decision maker, hire a gamer

Monday, 20 September, 2010

Avid gamers can develop the ability to make fast decisions, based on incomplete information, decisions that have been found to be just as accurate as those made by slower thinking non-gamers.

But there turns out to be a type of game that is known to boost a variety of skills, from decision making to tracking multiple objects: standard action games. A study, released today by Current Biology attempts to explain how these video games can produce such wide-ranging improvements. The authors of the study argue that the root of all these tasks involves making a probabilistic inference, where complete information is missing, so people have to make a best guess based on known odds. Video gaming, in their view, increases the efficiency at which people can process the odds and make an accurate decision – gamers simply can do more with less. As a result, any task of this sort sees benefits.

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