If you're a parent and you're given the choice of whether your child excels at one thing, either video games or playing a musical instrument, which would you choose? I think it's safe to say that most parents would choose the second option over the first for a whole list of reasons, but are these two activities really that different from each other?
Daphne Bavelier Ph.D. is a cognitive research scientist at the University of Geneva, Switzerland. Her focus of study is on action gaming and the affects it has on the brain. In a Ted Talk that she gave, she explained how she and her research team search for ways to make the brain "smarter, better and faster." They have become champions for the video game industry, de-bunking myth after myth; such as, action video games cause lack of attention span, can make your eyesight worse and can have an overall negative effect on performance of the parietal cortex, the frontal lobe and anterior cingulate (neural regions that control orientation of attention, sustaining attention and the allocation and regulation of resolving conflict.) All of her research points towards the exact opposite effects happening to the brain. In each of these myths the test subjects who played video games performed better than there non-gaming counter parts.
The reason for shedding light on video games and the brain is to make you aware that playing Metal Gear Solid and playing Mozart, to the brain, are similar tasks. Over the past twenty years there have been thousands of studies done on music and how it benefits the brain. The areas in the brain where gamers show better imaging on MRI, versus their non-gaming counter parts, the same can be seen in instrumentalists versus those who play no instrument.
So why bring all of this up? Food for thought mainly, but…
To encourage parents, gamers, and gaming parents! Did you know that the mean age of gamers in 2012, was 33 years of age!? So we're not just talking about children and teenagers; this can apply to just about anyone. If you've ever exceeded at an action video game or you just love playing them, odds are, you may be good at, or you may fall in love with playing a musical instrument! If this is you, stop into Amro Music Stores and check out an instrument, you might be surprised how much fun you have; in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about? A question for another time!