More than 9,000 boys and girls in the United States participated in the study. At the age of nine or ten, the children took a series of psychological tests to assess their general cognitive abilities (intelligence). The kids and their parents were also asked about how much time the kids spent watching TV and videos, playing video games, and interacting with social media.
Follow up after two years
Just over 5,000 children were followed after two years, at which point they were asked to repeat psychological tests. This allows researchers to study how children’s performance on tests varies from one test session to another, and to control for individual differences on the test. first check. They also controlled for genetic differences that may affect intelligence and that may be related to parental educational background and income.
The results showed that people who played more games than average increased their intelligence between the two measurements about 2.5 IQ points more than the average. No significant effects were observed, positive or negative, of watching TV or social media.
“We did not examine the impact of screen behavior on physical activity, sleep, health, and physical activity,” said Torkel Klingberg, professor of cognitive neuroscience in the Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute. health or performance in school, so we can’t say anything about that. “But our results support the claim that screen time in general does not reduce children’s cognitive abilities and that playing video games can actually enhance intelligence. with some experimental research on playing video games.”
Intelligence is not immutable
The results are also consistent with recent research showing that intelligence is not a constant, but rather a quality influenced by environmental factors.
“We will now study the impact of other environmental factors and cognitive effects on brain development in children,” says Torkel Klingberg.
One limitation of the study was that it only included US children and failed to distinguish between different types of video games, which makes the results difficult to transfer to children in countries with other gaming habits. There is also a risk of error reporting as device time and habits are self-assessed.
The study was funded by the Swedish Research Council and the Strategic Research Area Neuroscience (StratNeuro) at the Karolinska Institutet. The researchers reported no conflicts of interest.