How Video Games Can Improve Manual Dexterity

Video gaming is not just an exciting entertainment but also an activity that assures the development of some personal qualities and skills. Although there are still many people who perceive computer games as a total evil, a lot of beneficial effects of video games are scientifically proven.

For example, researchers from Stanford University have found that the gaming process stimulates the hippocampus (memory and learning ability) and the brain zone responsible for goal setting and motivation. Other scientists from The Open University of Catalonia have proved that video games improve memory: even not playing anymore, subjects who were active gamers in their childhood performed better at different tasks that require working memory than people who have never played computer games.

As for the influence of games on manual dexterity, there are also studies that confirm positive effects on fine motor skills caused by gaming.

One of the most famous researches on the subject is a study provided by American scientists in 2007.

What Did the Research Show?

The main purpose of the study was to find out how video games affect the work of practicing surgeons.

The researchers observed 33 surgical staff members at the Beth Israel Clinic in New York City. As a result of the observations, they found out that surgeons with a gaming experience make 32% fewer mistakes than their counterparts who do not play video games at all.

For the scientific experiment, 12 older surgeons with almost 13 years of experience and 21 young doctors with an average experience of three years were selected.

An additional experiment, which took a day and a half, was arranged to assess their professional abilities. During the experiment, the doctors had to perform simulated laparoscopic operations. There were two criteria established: the speed of work and the number of mistakes (shortcomings).

The main part of the research was devoted to gaming. The participants were asked to test their gaming skills in three gaming sessions that lasted 25 minutes. Meanwhile, 42% of them had never played video games, and 30%, on the contrary, were engaged in this activity almost daily.

Comparing the results of the two parts of their study, the scientists realized that the most experienced gamers and the most skilled surgeons among the medical staff they tested were the same people.

So, the research confirmed previous studies proving that video games improve not only fine motor skills but also:

  • eye-hand coordination
  • visual attention
  • depth perception
  • ability to focus on several subjects at once

Most video games require fast reactions and manual dexterity. Sometimes you need to press several keys on the keyboard simultaneously without forgetting about working with your mouse as well. Therefore, video games could become a great alternative to boring and monotonous educational games aimed at developing fine motor skills in children. When children play an exciting game, they feel completely immersed in the gameplay, so they do not even notice how they refine their manual dexterity skills.