Today in The Biology of Video Game news (Wait, that’s not what this blog is…)
Jokes aside, a recent study suggests that there may be benefits of video games on those with dyslexia. This is important news to those with children struggling with dyslexia or those themselves who struggle with it, which is about 5%-10% of the population. I won’t go into the study all too much, but essentially the study found that children with dyslexia were able to match those without dyslexia when it came to reacting to a visual cue followed by a sound cue, as opposed to being asked to reacting to cues broadly.
Hey, what does that have to do with video games you may be asking. First of all, I don’t know why you’re asking a computer screen, and secondly, this finding would suggest that video games may be able to assist with dyslexia because video games may be able to get children with dyslexia more accustomed to switching between audio and visual cues. As one of the researchers behind the study suggest:
“The idea is to train with some kind of video game that trains the eye movements to different locations to add in that multisensory component,
Maybe in the future we’ll see games developed specifically for kids with dyslexia to help alleviate the problem. It certainly wouldn’t be far fetched, as we already have plenty of video games meant to teach kids basic reading and writing.
So at this point you may be asking (as we’ve already established you’re a curious one) what does this all have to do with sociology. Well, if video games can help alleviate dyslexia or train your brain in other ways, then certainly they will become a more important part of our social world. The more evidence of the benefits of video games, the more they become a social norm in our society. That’s not too bad for us gamers, right?
Check out more classic video games re-imagined as children’s stories Here!
A recent study out of the University of Padua in Italy found some interesting findings on the results that video games have on those with dyslexia. The study, although very small, found that participants with dyslexia had their reading speeds increased after sessions of playing action-based video games. This begs the question: Can video games help kids with dyslexia improve their reading ability?
The Study: A research group at the University of Padua measured the improvements in reading scores of 20 kids with dyslexia after playing video games. One group had nine 80 minute sessions of playing an action-based video games, while the other group had nine 80-minute sessions of playing a non-action based video games. Essentially, one group played something akin to Sonic and one group played something akin to Professor Layton
The study found that the kids who played action-based video games had their reading speeds increase moreso than those who played the non-action-based video game. Likewise, the scores outpaced the normal improvements children with dyslexia naturally gain over the course of a year. Thus, there seems to some evidence to suggest that playing action-based games that require a lot of shifting of attention may help kids with dyslexia improving their reading speed.
It can’t just be Krato’s menacing stare that is causing these improvements with action-based video games and not others. The researchers suggest that action-based video games hone visual attention skills, which are lacking in children with dyslexia. Action-based video games help hone these skills by constantly making the player shift their attention and focus in game. This could mean that children with dyslexia can actually benefit from scheduled playtime with games that are more action based. An issue for many parents with kids with dyslexia, the article points out, has been keeping their children’s interest in the programs meant to help alleviate dyslexia, an issue video games typically don’t have with kids.
Obviously more study will have to be done on this issue before anyone can call it definitive evidence, but it is interesting to say the least. I would be interested to see how video games rank in helping dyslexia compared to the gains found in organized programs, if such results are found. But who knows, maybe this is something parents with kids with dyslexia look into- they’ll be playing video games already most likely, so why not choose something a little more action based like Sonic or Mario Kart