Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Mario Kart Can Improve Your Driving?

Another "study" was published yesterday regarding video game violence and how it's bad for children. But instead of wasting everyone's time, and rising to the click bait, for another pointless story that has no merit (because we all know better), we're going to talk about another study that was released that should be getting more coverage.

Mario Kart can help improve your driving skills!

Not kidding. Here's the link to the study. The original paper was submitted in 2015 and was published in April. Academic papers take a while to turn around, especially in 'Psychological Science.' Lead author Li Li from New York University Shanghai, along with co-authors from the University of Hong Kong, Rongrong Chen and Jing Chen, set out to see if action games would "improve essential visuomotor-control skills used for driving." They set limits on play to 5 hours, over multiple sessions, to see if limited time spans of gaming would help. Each participant needed to utilize a driving simulator for three-95 second trials. It's the same type of driving test one would take during driver's ed, but in a virtual environment. Everyone was scored, and split into groups of action games like Mario Kart and Unreal Tournament, and non-action games such as The Sims 2. Mario Kart is considered an action game for this study because you need to constantly move your character. There is no down time outside of the menus. Unlike Rollercoaster Tycoon, also cited in the study, where most of your movements are pointing and clicking the mouse, and waiting on objects to build.

The researchers found that people playing the action games had better response times while driving compared to the group that did not play the games. And after 10 gaming sessions, the subjects showed even greater improvement. They also factored in whether or not the individuals had driver's licenses (most of them did not, however many in Hong Kong are given tests to drive and are capable of doing so, but it's expensive to own a vehicle. See: Japan, South Korea, France as examples). Which ended up not being an issue as all tests came out even during the driving simulation, prior to gaming.

Science! It's amazing.

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