Skeptic criticizes cognitive benefits of video games

How do video games affect cognition? There’s some evidence that they may improve it, but not all are convinced:

A French boffin is pouring scorn upon claims made by Japanese gaming giant Nintendo about the educational value of some of its ‘edutainment’ software.

Games like Big Brain Academy and Brain Training for the handheld Nintendo DS are touted as tools which can test and rejuvinate a user’s brain function, increase blood flow to the brain and improve memory and practical intelligence.

But Professor Alain Lieury from the University of Rennes has recently conducted a scientific survey of ten-year-old human lab rats which he reckons proves that the company’s claims are complete and utter cobblers.

“The Nintendo DS is a technological jewel. As a game it’s fine,” he told The Times, “but it is charlatanism to claim that it is a scientific test.”

Nearly 90 million DS units have been sold, many of them on the seemingly unfounded promise that using the twin-screened handheld console will help the age-addled among us keep our grey matter in tip-top condition, despite years of watching endless reruns of The Simpsons, getting three hours of sleep a night and drinking like vikings.

The prof reckons that both you and your kids will get just as much benefit from working out maths and logic problems using a 10p pencil as a £100 DS console and any amount of £30 software packages.

Beware French boffins pouring scorn!

(via Althouse)

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