Video Games Make You Smart


I’ll stick with posting about psychology, since school/work is all I’ve been doing lately.

I came across an article (Teasdale & Owen, 2000) which looked at trends in intelligence scores over the last few decades. As you may know, intelligence has been steadily going up over time. This study looked at a Danish population, to see if IQ is still going up. The graph above shows what they found. It’s not going up as much as it used to, except visuo-spatial abilities (working with shapes in your head), which continue to increase.

Why is this? The researchers guess: “..it is tempting to speculate that […] it has been growing exposure to video games and geometrically configured computer screens via operating systems, applications programs and the Internet, that have particularly accelerated the development of visuo-spatial abilities during the last decade.”

So there you have it. Contrary to what some believe, video games are not responsible for the downfall of society; it’s the opposite. Video games are making everybody smarter. Parents: start your kids off on the right foot. Get those toddlers playing Grand Theft Auto right away.

This also gives me an idea for my Ph.D. dissertation: “Does Playing Video Games All Day for a Year Make People Smarter? A Self-Administered Case Study. By Mike.”

Here’s the full reference for the article I’m talking about:

Teasdale, T., & Owen, D. (2000). Forty-year secular trends in cognitive abilities. Intelligence, 28, 115 – 120.

Psychobabble


You know, there are a lot of interesting things in the field of psychology, but not a lot of people know about them. When most people think of psychology, they think of Sigmund Freud sitting behind a patient on a couch while they talk about their childhood, while he fills out a prescription for crazy pills. That has very little to do with real psychology.

I think one of the reasons that most people ignore psychology research is that we use stupid jargon for very simple things. This makes us feel smart, but just confuses everyone else.

As an example, here is a line from an article I came across, defining what a “home page” is:

A home page is an entry interface of hyperdocuments for presenting a Website’s information to visitors, which is mostly concerned with human perception in terms of users’ comprehension and mental representation.

Seriously. I barely know what it’s talkng about. How about this? “A home page is the first thing you see when you visit a web site.” Much better.