rationalizing the inevitable

I still haven’t found a Wii on the shelves, but the day I see one, I will buy it then and there. So it’s not like I need to justify the decision to buy one. However, rationalizations are another matter entirely 🙂 A few days ago, Shamus pointed to someone using the Wii for weight loss; now comes word that video games improve visual acuity by 20%:

Video games that contain high levels of action can actually improve your vision, claim researchers at the University of Rochester. Their findings, which will appear in the journal Psychological Science, show that people who played action video games for a few hours a day over the course of a month improved by about 20 percent in their ability to identify letters presented in clutter—a visual acuity test similar to ones used in regular ophthalmology clinics.

“Action video game play changes the way our brains process visual information,” says Daphne Bavelier, professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester. “After just 30 hours, players showed a substantial increase in the spatial resolution of their vision, meaning they could see figures like those on an eye chart more clearly, even when other symbols crowded in.”

The paper isn’t on PubMed yet, though I did find some other relevant, entertaining and informative abstracts.

Given that my wife and I both are severely vision-impaired, I am seriously interested in any beneficial effects (however negligible) I can arrange upon my daughter’s vision. Of course, keeping her running around and gesticulating wildly while remaining tethered to a specific part of the house is also a big appeal 🙂