Action video games, which feature quickly moving targets, include large amounts of clutter, and that require the user to make rapid, accurate decisions, have particularly positive cognitive impacts, says a new study.
The study claimed that such video games are even better in their impact than "brain games", which are created specifically to improve cognitive function.
"Action video games have been linked to improving attention skills, brain processing, and cognitive functions, including low-level vision through high-level cognitive abilities," said lead researcher C. Shawn Green from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
"Many other types of games do not produce an equivalent impact on perception and cognition," he added.
Brain games typically embody few of the qualities of the commercial video games linked with cognitive improvement, the researchers noted.
Furthermore, video games are known to impact not only cognitive function, but many other aspects of behaviour - including social functions - and this impact can be either positive or negative depending on the content of the games.
"Modern video games have evolved into sophisticated experiences that instantiate many principles known by psychologists, neuroscientists, and educators to be fundamental to altering behaviour, producing learning, and promoting brain plasticity," said co-lead researcher Aaron R. Seitz from the University of California-Riverside.
"Video games, by their very nature, involve predominately active forms of learning (that is, making responses and receiving immediate informative feedback), which is typically more effective than passive learning," Seitz noted.
The study was published in the journal Policy Insights from the Behavioural and Brain Sciences, published by SAGE.