Regardless of what parents may think, a recent study shows a strong possibility that playing video games could make you smarter. The study tested 152 adolescents who played at least 12.6 hours a week. The study found that video game play is associated with greater “cortical thickness,” meaning greater density in specific brain areas that affect decision-making.
The study shows that video games may improve the function of the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), which is our brain's control and command center. The DLPFC is the area of the brain where we make complex decisions. Here, the brain stores information for quick access. It also helps self-control.
There are other benefits to playing video games beyond improvement in decision-making and strategic-thinking. The study also found that playing video games increases the activity of the left frontal eye field (FEF). The FEF is what the brain uses to process visual-motor information. Like the DLPFC, the FEF is important in decision-making; it tells us what's best in varying situations. Being able to take in all of the information of playing video games improves our ability to do this.
Thus, scientists believe video games could be a source of something called “brain fitness,” which is like exercise for our brain. This brain fitness helps the brain physically, not just perceptually. So video games may actually be an amazing exercise for the brain.