IED Detection: One Skill Gaming Does Not Improve

While gamers might be adept at flying drones and operating other types of high-tech military weaponry, they finish behind two other groups of personnel when it comes to being skilled at detecting improvised explosive devices (IED).

The Los Angeles Times reports that military personnel with hunting backgrounds or those who come from tough urban neighborhoods surpassed gamers when it came to spotting explosive devices.

Why is this the case? Gamers “do not seem to have the depth perception and peripheral vision of the others, even if their eyesight is 20/20” states the article. Army Sgt. Maj. Todd Burnett added:

Video game enthusiasts are narrower in their focus, as if the windshield of their Humvee is a computer screen. The gamers are very focused on the screen rather than the whole surrounding.

Sgt. Maj. Burnett said that the best class of soldiers he’s ever seen at detecting IEDs were members of the South Carolina National Guard, nearly all of whom are from rural areas and participated in hunting.

Thanks Sean!

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  1. 0
    Father Time says:

    I think that’s the funniest comment I’ve seen on gamepolitics.


    Debates are like merry go rounds. Two people take their positions then they go through the same points over and over and over again. Then when it’s over they have the same positions they started in.

  2. 0
    Saxy says:

    Yeah, this article states the obvious, but I have to credit it for being truthful. It’s better than making up lies.

    I play video games, probably too much (I think that would be obvious), and I also march in a band. I’d agree, it does help out with peripheral vision, and I’ve even partially learned to spread my eyes apart so that one can follow the drum major while the other can keep track of pretty much everything else. It’s kind of necessary, because my director and seniors will bestow upon me the gift of running for every mistake I make. Trust me, after a few ‘coming to Jesus’ meetings (run laps ’till you see him!), you’d be surprised at how fast evolution can take place!


  3. 0
    RavenMitah says:

    I’m going to have to take the sarcastic route as well… Hunters and kids from rough neighborhoods have better peripheral vision and are better at spotting things!?  And people who mostly stare straight ahead don’t!?  NO WAI!

    In all honesty, I don’t think my own peripheral vision would be as great as it is if it wasn’t for years of marching band.  If you screwed up there you’d end up being the jerk who steps all over the guy that just passed out from dehydration or the idiot who backs up too far and rams into the person behind you.


  4. 0
    JDKJ says:

    LOL!! If you already know how to avoid stepping in all that dog shit while walking in the ‘hood, then you’re a better candidate than a gamer for avoiding stepping on a IED in Iraq. Sweet. 

  5. 0
    nightwng2000 says:

    Now, see, THAT’S research.  Observation is beaten down as valid research, but it truly is.  Especially when you know so much about those you are researching.

    Peripheral vision, when it comes to computer/video games, is really artificial.  You have the limits of the screen in front of you.  Moving the "Camera" is turning your head.  That’s not peripheral vision.

    Now, supposedly (and I don’t have the money or the inclination right now), having 3 or more monitors widens the view.  But unless those two side monitors are on either side of your head, technically, you’re still looking straight on, unless you’re vision limits you to the middle monitor and only portions of the side monitors.

    I’m not sure how VR glasses worked for normal vision folks.  they were crap for me.

    The best environmental equivilant gaming system would be a monitor, from floor to ceiling, a full half circle around the room that you would stand in front of (if you drew a straight line from each end of the monitor and stood at the middle of that line).  I really don’t see a better system for providing true peripheral vision support from a computer/video game.  And you’d probably have to extend the monitor up and down to get those perspectives as well.

    Other than that, live simulation training is the only way to train for the real world.


    NW2K Software

    Nightwng2000 is now admin to the group "Parents For Education, Not Legislation" on MySpace as

  6. 0
    MrBounce says:

    You’re missing the main fault in their premise…

    Just because someone is a "gamer", doesn’t mean they aren’t a "hunter". Not to mention there are a lot of other professions that rely on observation skills. Heck, I used to be a Lifeguard and we were trained to spot people in distress out of huge crowds of people, that’s pretty far off from being a "hunter". And yes, I am a gamer too.

  7. 0
    Neeneko says:

    I would actually put this at an even simplier cause….

    In games, most games are designed with some kind of ‘wink’ on interactable objects.  Gamers learn to spot things that matter by clues designers put in for them. 

  8. 0
    MrBounce says:

    Uh…. what? So a "hunter" in a Humvee can somehow see things a normal alert person can’t see out the Humvee’s windows…??? Do they have X-ray vision to see through the Humvee’s floor perhaps? What a stupid article.

  9. 0
    SimonBob says:

    I wonder if there’s any difference between console and PC gamers?  The relative distances from the screens probably changes the level of perception.

    Also, my peripheral vision is great, because as the resident socially inept kid in elementary school, I constantly had to be aware of potential wedgies and wet-willies from any direction.  Even today I get a little jumpy if someone comes up on me between five and seven o’clock.  I guess today’s modern hip call o’ duty gamerz don’t have to develop those skills, tho.

    The Mammon Philosophy

  10. 0
    Austin_Lewis says:

    What about hunters who also game?  I mean, I can stalk a deer for as far as I want, but I can also slaugther zombies in L4D (zomebie genocidist right here).  On a related note, hell yeah hunters and tough urban youths. 

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