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See, mom? Video games ARE good for me!

Submitted by on Tuesday, 1 September 2009 No Comment

Turns out that all those hours I spent at my brother’s house staring goggle-eyed at a screen, cursing the little blocks that wouldn’t fall into place weren’t a waste of vacation time at all.

In fact, they might be responsible for making me the occasionally quasi-successful professional writer I am today.

Tetris, you see, makes brains bigger. And here I thought it was merely making my blood pressure higher.

Don’t laugh. There’s official proof, according to the British edition of Wired.

Scientists say that playing Tetris makes part of the brain work more efficiently, while other parts of it show thicker cortexes, a sign of greater gray matter.

This shows that concentrating on a “challenging visuospatial task” such as a video game can alter the brain’s structure, not just increase its activity, according to Wired.

The research, by the way, was paid for by the people who make Tetris.

I don’t want to scoff at someone’s science when I haven’t read the research and might not understand it if I had – I bet I’d fly through it if , though, I’d bought my own copy of Tetris instead of just playing it while on vacation.

But I’m getting bloody sick of studies by the entertainment industry that constantly tout the wonderful things staring at a screen can do for you.

This latest study is almost as laughable as one back in March, when researchers with no financial interest found that the best they could say about “educational” DVDs is that they don’t hurt a child’s intellectual development.

Before that study was even official made public, DVD manufactures and their blogger apologists – including one who’d Tweeted from corporate headquarters less than 48 hours earlier – were spinning the research into a “TV is good” message.

No, it’s not.

TV – or Tetris or tiddlywinks – is neither good nor bad. It’s a tool. Whether it helps, hurts or simply amuses you depends on how you use it.

I’m tired of people with commercial stakes in products trying to tell me otherwise. Particularly when they try to cloak their advertisements as scientific fact.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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