Study proves violent video games make women smarter

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.

Comments 3

  1. Noah Falstein wrote:

    “Psychological experiments often have a streak of cruelty I find amusing.” – I quite understand, I read that, and later the same day in the book “Fear Itself” which is about current research into the brain mechanisms behind fear, I found this line:

    “A child can easily become afraid of snakes, but no matter how ingenious and persistent the researcher, it is almost impossible to make him afraid of a toy duck.”

    There’s a whole tragic story behind that one word “almost” – somewhere there’s a kid who may be an adult now, who still runs screaming when you wave a toy duck at him – not to mention the mindset of scientists as they persistently and ingeniously tried to scare kids with toy ducks.

    Posted 11 Sep 2007 at 14:40
  2. Jurie wrote:

    Yes! Almost every psychology experiment has some horror lurking beneath the surface. Think of all those identical twins that were separated at birth by evil psychologists.

    Posted 11 Sep 2007 at 15:16
  3. thomers wrote:

    “somewhere there‚Äôs a kid who may be an adult now, who still runs screaming when you wave a toy duck at him”

    or, even worse, someday, he discovers the duck demo on his up-to-this-time-beloved PS3 :-)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UaDvIPpQnQ

    Posted 13 Sep 2007 at 2:49