Study Finds Causal Link Between Gaming And Intelligence In Children

A scientific paper published this week has found that gaming might cause positive gains in intelligence in children. Although links between gaming and its impact on intelligence have been found before, this study found evidence for the impact in stronger terms and suggested causal links between gaming and intelligence.

The paper is published on and the study was carried out by a team of European researchers based in universities in Sweden, The Netherlands, and Germany. The study's aim was to determine what impact screen time had on children's intelligence, with special focus on playing video games as compared with watching videos and TV.

In their study they sought to estimate the effect of three types of screen time with these being: watching TV and online videos; socialising via social media, text, and video chat; and gaming.

The researchers accounted for confounding variables such as genetic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and used a longitudinal sample that comprised 9,855 participants of children aged nine to ten years old. In other words, the study was fairly robust in using a large sample size that had also been followed up two years later (with over half of the participants). The findings were pretty persuasive.

The study's authors found that after two years gaming "positively impacted intelligence" and that this is consistent with previous experimental studies on the cognitive benefits of video gaming. They found this effect in both girls and boys, with no difference between them.

"Our most important finding was that gaming positively impacted the amount of change in intelligence so that children who played more video games at 9-10 years showed the most gains in intelligence two years later", they wrote.

"Notably, our longitudinal finding of a positive impact of gaming on the change in intelligence means that children who played more video games were the ones experiencing the most gains in intelligence after two years. This is evidence of a beneficial causal effect of video games on cognition, and, as described before, is supported by multiple different studies".

The authors conceded that the data they used, the sample of children, was drawn from the United States, and therefore the generalisation to other countries is limited since the type of video game being played is also significant. "From previous studies we know that effects on cognition depend on genres played, skills required, etc. Because children in different countries differ in their preferences for video game genres", they added.

It's a fascinating paper and is further evidence of the positive benefits of gaming, following studies that have found positive impact of gaming on mental health, and perhaps could be used by children worldwide to persuade their parents that another game of Fortnite could be making their brains bigger. We at TheGamer do suggest doing your homework, however, and to stay in school, kids! You can read the full scientific paper here.

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