Action-Packed Video Games Could Help You Make Decisions Faster

Action-Packed Video Games Could Help You Make Decisions Faster

We've talked before about how video games can be more than just a time sink. One recent study shows that gamers who play action games made decisions 25 per cent faster with no loss in accuracy.

Photo by Campus Party Mexico.

The study took gamers who were playing action games and compared them to people playing strategy games. The result? The action gamers made faster decisions, but weren't any less accurate:

After this training period, all of the subjects were asked to make quick decisions in several tasks designed by the researchers. In the tasks, the participants had to look at a screen, analyse what was going on, and answer a simple question about the action in as little time as possible (i.e. whether a clump of erratically moving dots was migrating right or left across the screen on average). In order to make sure the effect wasn't limited to just visual perception, the participants were also asked to complete an analogous task that was purely auditory.

The action game players were up to 25 per cent faster at coming to a conclusion and answered just as many questions correctly as their strategy game playing peers.

Most notably, all subjects were not already avid video game players and were subjected to 50 hours of gameplay each. This means that even if you haven't been playing all your life, the study showed that picking up a shooter or fast-paced game can still help you make quicker decisions.

Video games lead to faster decisions that are no less accurate []


    I remember when I first started playing Call of Duty (CoD 4: Modern Warfare) on Xbox 360. Each time I spawned my lifespan was about 5 seconds and I thought the game was rubbish because I was dead before I knew it, the game was just so quick compared to what I was accustomed to playing.

    Now it years down the track and the tides have turned. I always score a positive K:D ratio during hardcore TDM (usually 1.5 - 2.5) and am usually in the top 3 of the leaderboard. You definitely have to step up and start making quick decisions in order to be competitive at these games, so I don't doubt for a moment that FPS gamers make quicker decisions than non-FPS gamers.

    I also find Call of Duty to be a great exercise in learning to understand and predict human behaviour. The poor to average players are easy to best simply through predicting what they are going to do. For instance, if I fire a couple of shots at an enemy as he disappears around the corner, the poor to average players will hear the shots, turn around and run back around the corner looking to kill me, where I already have my crosshairs aimed. The smart players though will realise that they are at a disadvantage, as I know where they are but they don't know where I am, and they will either keep on moving forward or lay in ambush for me. Another example is when you know there is an enemy hold up in a room, so you shoot a few round into the door. Moments later the idiot appears in the doorway practically begging you to shoot him in the face.

    Last edited 09/08/13 3:17 pm

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