Previous studies that linked playing video games with better cognitive and multitasking skills is fundamentally flawed, US researchers say.
Walter Boot, an assistant professor in Florida State University's Department of Psychology, together with FSU psychology doctoral student Daniel Blakely and University of Illinois collaborator Daniel Simons, say that many of those studies compared the cognitive skills of frequent gamers to non-gamers and found gamers to be superior.
However, Boot and his coauthors point out that this doesn't necessarily mean that their game experience caused better perceptual and cognitive abilities. It could be that individuals who have the abilities required to be successful gamers are simply drawn to gaming.
"Despite the hype, in reality, there is little solid evidence that games enhance cognition at all," he said.
Boot, who grew up playing video games, said at first he was excited about research that claimed playing action video games could enhance basic measures of attention.
He and his fellow researchers conducted their own video-game training study to determine what other abilities might improve following video game play, but they were unable to replicate the training benefits found in earlier studies.
"The idea that video games could enhance cognition was exciting because it represented one of the few cases in which cognitive training enhanced abilities that weren't directly practiced," Boot said.
"But we found no benefits of video game training," he added.
The study was recently published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.