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Action Video Games May Boost Vision

Study Findings Could Inspire New Software to Retrain Brain, Rehabilitate Vision

Playing Video Games for Science continued...

The study suggests that that may be possible, which might be good news for people with visual cortex problems.

"If you have a lesion there, for example, your eye is fine, but the information reaches the brain and then gets lost because there's not the right hardware to process it," Bavelier says.

She and her colleagues are working to develop a training regimen for patients with amblyopia (also called "lazy eye") in which the brain shuts down vision in the weaker eye to avoid double vision.

The training regimen will include "some of the ingredients of what we think is important in video games," Bavelier says.

Playtime?

The study "doesn't mean that you can go and play for hours at a time," Bavelier says. "The study doesn't show that video games are good for you in general."

"We are interested in brain plasticity," she says, referring to the brain's ability to be retrained.

"Video games are amazing tools for reopening brain plasticity," Bavelier says. "But for your everyday, average person, that doesn't mean that suddenly they can go on a binge of video games and life will be better. There is more to life than just your visual system."

The study is due for publication next week in Psychological Science.

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