ONR: Gamers Better Terrorist Fighters

Fighting a war on terror demands that military personnel be able to quickly react and adapt to enemy tactics—traits which improve from playing videogames.

Research currently being undertaken by the Office of Naval Research is showing that videogame training is having “surprising” results in helping military personnel adapt to the challenges of fighting terrorists, according to a story on the Department of Defense website.

Ray Perez, a Program Officer for the Office of Naval Research’s Warfighter Performance department, offered comment on what the group’s research has uncovered so far:

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.

Using the term “fluid intelligence” to describe such field adaptability, Perez believes that cognitive advances gleaned from playing games can last for up to two and a half years.

He continued:

We know that video games can increase perceptual abilities and short-term memory. They allow the player to focus longer and expand the player’s field of vision compared to people who don’t play video games.

We think that these games increase your executive control, or your ability to focus and attend to stimuli in the outside world.

Perez’s group is looking to advance the integration of videogames into training, eventually hoping to be able to “blur the distinction between training and operations.”

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