OK, that is a slight oversimplification, but there’s an interesting article in this week’s Economist which sort of goes like this:
- Scientists test people’s ability to spot unusual objects in their field of vision.
- Men do better than women.
- Scientists suppress urge to ‘explain this in terms of division of labour on the African savannah’.
- Half of the test subjects are forced to play Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault for 10 hours, while the other half plays Ballance. Meanwhile, the scientists gloat and twist their evil moustaches *).
- The field of vision test is repeated.
- People who played Medal of Honor now do better than before. Women score as well as the men.
- Test subjects go home after excruciating ordeal.
- 5 months later, they are dragged into vans by hooded men and made to do the test again. The people who played Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault still do better, and women still score as well as men.
I am not going to draw any major conclusions from this. Obviously this is highly interesting, but if I changed my world view based on every article about a study somewhere, I’d go nuts.
Still, for years the only thing most people could come up with to defend games was that it improves hand-eye coordination. It’s funny to see that it appears to be true.
*) Psychological experiments often have a streak of cruelty I find amusing.