Your guns are loaded. You are at full health and there is a wall of bad guys between you and your ride out of Dodge. You peek, and they see you. Options are limited and the enemy knows nothing save for the want to kill you. You go for the long shot.You throw a grenade at the wall beside you, and it bounces and lands perfectly in the alien invasion infantry ranks. You count the beats in your head…
The controller rumbles in your hand as the grenade goes off and leaves you clear to finish the stage or get popped by a sniper. Tactical and aware you are in the moment, but to others you’re just playing video game. Or are you?
As reported in Metro News. research completed by psychology professor Ian Spence and doctoral student Jing Feng has shown that first person shooters, or FPS’s “greatly improve spatial abilities in both men and woman, with women showing the greatest degree of improvement.” Just another reason to get your girlfriend playing with things other than your Wii, huh?
Rocking first person shooters trains your brain to respond faster and with better accuracy, giving you a better chance of pulling off that grenade bounce when the zombie invasion occurs- oops, I just slipped into a Left 4 Dead flashback. Whatever. Without spatial awareness skills, we would never have survived the creation of fire. The perception of surroundings is important due to its necessary relevance to survival, especially with regards to hunting and self preservation as well as simply one’s idea of personal space.
And a little goes a long way as well apparently, as the improvement is maintained for roughly 5 months after what the researchers called “training.” A few hours a month and you could be flawlessly navigating your apartment without ever stubbing your toe, or if you are studying interior design, it could help you gauge depth and overall size of a room. So go out and pick up Mirrors Edge, I say. You may find yourself planning escape routes from every room you frequent during the day, and you would have a better chance of actually succeeding when the time is right. A good escape is just as important as a good entrance especially when the boss is coming.