Posted by: abaybay123 | November 29, 2007

Odd Man Out

While reading “The Situationist” blog I came across an interesting article that encouraged girls to play violent video games.  When I saw the title I was convinced to read further.  The article starts by explaining how women have more trouble with spatial tasks. These are tasks in which someone has to identify the out of the ordinary object in a situation.  Statitics show than men are significantly more better than women.  So a psychology professor conducted an experiment in which men and women played a violent war video game for ten hours.  Following the video game, the individuals were given a test to identify the “odd man out” in a displayed field of two dozen identical objects.  Both the men and the women showed improvement in scores, however the women showed a significantlly more impressive improvement than the men.

That is not surprising, given the different natures of the games. However, the improvement in the women was greater than the improvement in the men—so much so that there was no longer a significant difference between the two. Moreover, that absence of difference was long-lived. When the volunteers were tested again after five months, both the improvement and the lack of difference between the sexes remained. Though it is too early to be sure, it looks likely that the change in spatial acuity—and the abolition of any sex difference in that acuity—induced by playing “Medal of Honour” is permanent.

That has several implications. One is that playing violent computer games can have beneficial effects. Another is that the games might provide a way of rapidly improving spatial ability in people such as drivers and soldiers. And a third is that although genes are important, upbringing matters, too.

I found this interesting because apparently there are many important spatial tasks in todays society.  Because of this test, psychologists are actually hinting that it might be a good idea for mothers to encourage their daughters to play violent video games.  This was interesting to me because women are not usually assosciated with video games, let alone violent video games.  Also in todays entertainment industry, one of the major debates is the violence that is portrayed in TV shows, movies, and video games.  Most say it has a negative impact on society, but these psychologists suggest otherwise.  I found it amazing how playing a violent video game can also help people with driving and many other real life tasks.


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