Video Games Reduce Attentional Blink
Our visual processing abilities are by no means hardwired and fixed from birth. There are limits, but the brain's nothing if not plastic. With practice, we can improve the attentional mechanisms that sort and edit visual infor¬ mation. One activity that requires you to practice lots of the skills involved 1 visual attention is playing video games.
So, what is the effect of playing lots of video games? Shawn Green anc Daphne Bavelier from the University of Rochester, New York, have researched precisely this question; their results were pubhshed in the paper "Action Video Game Modifies Visual Attention"
Two of the effects they looked at are the attentional blink and subitizing. The ttentional blink is that half-second recovery time required to spot a seconc. target in a rapid-fire sequence. And subitizing is that alternative to counting for very low numbers (four and below), the almost instantaneous mechanism we have for telling how many items we can see. Training can both increase the subitization limit and shorten the attentional blink, meaning ive're able to simultaneously spot more of what we want to spot and do it faster, too.
Playing games improves the brain's ability to recognize new things entering the environment.
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