A 2013 meta-analysis found that playing shooter video games improved a player's capacity to think about objects in three dimensions, just as well as academic courses to enhance these same skills.
"This has critical implications for education and career development, as previous research has established the power of spatial skills for achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics," lead author Isabela Granic, PhD, of Radboud University Nijmegen in The Netherlands, said. This enhanced thinking was not found with playing other types of video games, such as puzzles or role-playing games.
Playing video games may also help children develop problem-solving skills, the authors said. It was found that the more adolescents reported playing strategic video games, such as role-playing games, the more they improved in problem solving and school grades the following year.
Children's creativity was also enhanced by playing any kind of video game, including violent games, but not when the children used other forms of technology, such as a computer or cell phone, other research revealed.
Simple games that are easy to access and can be played quickly, such as 'Angry Birds,' can improve players' moods, promote relaxation and ward off anxiety, the study said.
The authors also highlighted the possibility that video games are effective tools to learn resilience in the face of failure. By learning to cope with ongoing failures in games, the authors suggested that children build emotional resilience they can rely upon in their everyday lives.
The study was published by the American Psychological Association.