Playing action video games such as Mario Kart can better prepare subjects for realistic driving hazards, according to a new study.


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The study published in the journal Psychological Science found playing action-based video games “may boost players’ ability to coordinate incoming visual information with their motor control, a skill critical to many real-world behaviors including driving.”

For the study, researchers from New York University Shanghai and University of Hong Kong gathered 80 students and faculty from the University of Hong Kong to participate in several video game experiments. After 10 one-hour sessions, there was a steady improvement in “visuomotor-control skills” from participants playing action video games compared with those who didn’t.

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The Huffington Post reported on another video game experiment in which experienced gamers (who played at least five hours of video games per week) were better at controlling a virtual car in a driving test stimulation.

The typical teenager spends hours glued to a screen playing action video games such as Grand Theft Auto, Super Mario and Call of Duty. The Montreal researchers found these gamers were “far more likely than nongamers to use an area of the brain referred to as the ‘reward system,’ rather than the hippocampus, which controls memory, learning and emotion.”

The virtual reality of warfare, violence and action has evolved over the years, and according to the Washington Times, the U.S. military views those developments positively because games can be a tool for recruits to experience intense situations without the fallout.

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