Mon, Dec 5, 2016 | updated 07:59 PM IST

Action video games can make you better driver

Updated: Jul 14, 2016 12:39 IST

Washington D.C, Jul 14 (ANI): You may want to start playing action-based video games as a new study has suggested that they can boost your behind-the-wheel skills.

The research showed that playing action-based video games may boost players' ability to coordinate incoming visual information with their motor control, a skill critical to many real-world behaviors including driving.

"Our research shows that playing easily accessible action video games for as little as 5 hours can be a cost-effective tool to help people improve essential visuomotor-control skills used for driving," said lead author Li Li of New York University Shanghai.

Using a driving simulation, Li with co-authors Rongrong Chen (The University of Hong Kong) and Jing Chen (The University of Hong Kong) compared the visuomotor abilities of experienced players of action video games (those who had played at least 5 hours per week over the previous 6 months) to participants who had negligible action video game experience.

The participants saw a display that showed a simulated road with lane markers. In three 95-second trials, they were tasked with steering a virtual vehicle down the lane, straying as little as possible from the center while compensating for crosswinds that affected the direction of the car.

Experienced action gamers showed much greater precision in keeping to their lane, and showed less deviation from center in the face of increasing headwinds, when compared to the participants with little to no action video game experience.

The researchers saw similar results when they tested participants on another visuomotor control task that involved using a joystick to keep a target dot from floating away from the center of the screen.

"The differing effects of driving and FPS video games on the sensorimotor system suggest that for experienced drivers, who have stable control but need to improve their ability to predict input error signals, training with FPS rather than driving video games is more effective," Li explained. "In contrast, for novice drivers, who are still struggling with obtaining stable control, training with driving rather than FPS video games is more helpful."

The findings are published in Psychological Science. (ANI)