We often hear anti-game critics and researchers say that video games teach America's youth to be killers, but the truth is that video games teach children something more inspiring: how to play baseball! According to new research (PDF) from the University of California, Riverside, playing certain video games make children better ball players and in general improve their vision.
For this particular study, researchers compared two groups of UC Riverside baseball players: 19 who played vision-training video games on a computer or iPad for two months, and 18 who had no training at all. Both groups had their eyesight tested before and after the experiment.
The tests conducted prior to the "computer game intervention" showed no major differences in the eyesight between the two groups. After the training, the group who trained using video games showed a 31 percent improvement in their visual acuity. Researchers go on to say that some players' eyesight improved to 20/7.5 (they could see things 20 feet away with the same clarity that an average person sees at seven and a half feet).
Trained players said that they could see the ball better, had improved peripheral vision and felt like it was easier to see further than prior to the training.
"The exciting thing is that this type of training has potential to help pretty much everyone in the world," says Seitz. "We've worked with the Los Angeles Police Department and are starting a collaboration with the Riverside Police Department to address specialized vision need of these populations. Other [kinds of] athletes can benefit, [too]."
For how this translates into actual play on a Baseball diamond, check out this report.
The study was recently published in the journal, Current Biology.