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Gamers Better at Driving with Cell Phones

Filed under: General Gaming
Posted by Jeremy on December 12, 2005 10:26 AM
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It's no secret that driving while talking on a cell phone isn't the best idea in the world. Some studies have shown that it's as bad as driving while intoxicated. This is due primarily to the inability of modern society to multitask. In this Science Daily article, Oregon State University assoc. Professor of pyschology, Mei-Ching Lien, explains, "A lot of people think talking on the cell phone while driving is natural, but each time someone asks a question or changes the subject, it's like taking on a new task." How do gamers fit in?

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"In her lab studies, she has yet to test any volunteers who are immune to delays in multi-tasking, though she says some students do much better than others.

"I have to say that the best ones are those who play a lot of video games," she pointed out. "Those are lab studies, however, and not driving tests.""

This evidence, that gamers are better at multitasking, isn't anything new. In Steven Johnson's recent book, Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter, the hypothesis is the same: that today's gamers (and consumers of TV) are using highly evolved and complicated mental faculties to solve, say, a Zelda game. He says, in games, the player must navigate the virtual world and apply a sort of scientific method of trial and error, "probing, hypothesizing, reprobing and rethinking." Simultaneously, the player must take into account these seemingly instant or unsubstantial bits of information and go about, "constructing the proper hierarchy of tasks and moving through the tasks in the correct sequence-perceiving relationships and determining priorities."

Discovering how to beat Deku Shrubs doesn't sound so silly afterall, does it?






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