Research has found that video games can help adults process information much faster and improve their abilities to reason and solve problems in novel contexts, The US Office of Naval finds.
This results in combat fighters that more capable at taking on the enemy than nongamers.
We have discovered that video game players perform 10 to 20 percent higher in terms of perceptual and cognitive ability than normal people that are non-game players, said Ray Perez, a program officer at the ONR's warfighter performance.
Perez said that those who played video games exhibited increased perpetual abilities and short-term memory. Games also help people focus longer.
We have to train people to be quick on their feet - agile problem solvers, agile thinkers - to be able to counteract and develop counter tactics to terrorists on the battlefield, Perez said. It's really about human inventiveness and creativeness and being able to match wits with the enemy.
It's also about adaptability. Perez said this means being able to work outside your present mindset, to think beyond what you have been taught, to go beyond your experience to solve problems in new and different ways.
The Office of Naval Research is attempting to develop training technologies and methods to improve battlefield performance .
Perez used the term fluid intelligence to describe the ability to change, to meet new problems and to develop new tactics and counter-tactics.
Fluid intelligence -- or the ability to solve problems without prior knowledge or experience -- was thought to be innate and immutable, Perez explained.
The educational psychology doctorate said that the structure and organization of the brain were believed to be set by the time you are out of your teens.
But the games are showing that the brain can change, especially in response to the video games, though it is not well understood.
We think that these games increase your executive control, or your ability to focus and attend to stimuli in the outside world, he added.
Early indications suggest that cognitive improvements from video games can last up to two and half years, Perez said, but he admitted that so far the results have been relegated to observations and measurements in a controlled laboratory environment.
The Office of Naval Research will continue to study the effects video games have on soldiers.