Video Games and Intelligence: How Are They Related?

Video games are part of our social life. Do they also help stimulate our intelligence? What is the relationship between video games and intelligence?
Video Games and Intelligence: How Are They Related?
Sergio De Dios González

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Sergio De Dios González.

Written by María Hoyos

Last update: 21 December, 2022

Without a doubt, video games have changed the way we look at free-time nowadays. There’s something people have been asking themselves in this day and age when video games are everywhere and we’re using them so often: are video games and intelligence related?

Nowadays, video games are the main attractions at parties and get-togethers. It’s also a 100,000 million dollar industry. We have all played video games at least once. In general, we associate them with leisure time when we don’t have to think too much. But can video games influence our brain in a positive way?

In this article, we’ll discuss how we have changed our ways of seeing the world due to the use of video games. We’ll also see that not all video games have the same cognitive effect on our brain.

What is gamification?

This term describes the influence of different types of video games on certain activities. We could gamify almost any activity.

Generally, video games are used in classrooms to improve the learning process and students’ cognitive development. They can be activities in and of themselves or they can complement other activities. This had led many parents to complain, showing that these types of games aren’t widely accepted as a form of education.

Gamifying is a way to use video games as an educational platform.

Video games and intelligence

There are many reasons that have led people to consider that there’s a relationship between video games and intelligence. In fact, a 2005 study carried out by Shaffer, Squire, Halverson, and Gee established that there is, in fact, a link between learning and video games.

It’s common knowledge that chess can improve logical reasoning. Nowadays, games like League of Legends or Battlefield 3 could be boosting some brain areas and possibly favoring cognitive development. To play League of Legends, you must come up with a good strategy, just like in chess. In Battlefield 3, players need to have good eye-hand coordination, since they need to be fast in order to win.

This shows that video games require many skills. We may or may not have these skills depending on the type of intelligence we master.

A player with spatial intelligence will succeed in strategy games. On the other hand, if you have a boosted verbal-linguistic intelligence, you’ll succeed in games like Aworded.

Not all video games

You’re probably asking yourself right now if this means that any video game can make you smarter. The answer is no. Generally speaking, you must look for games that improve your ability to process information and your problem-solving skills.

A boy playing video games.

Another important aspect to consider is the minimum age requirement to play a specific video game. Allowing a child to play a violent video game could affect their social perception, making them lose empathy. However, social perception is not always affected in such a way, since more variables need to be present. Some of them may be certain personality disorders or a conflictive upbringing, among others.

This doesn’t mean that violent games aren’t able to stimulate intelligence since various studies show that they do. However, it’s important to understand that this happens in the adult population. We need a certain level of emotional maturity to understand the difference between fiction and reality.

In a way, video games are positive and even necessary. We can’t overlook the benefits that these new technologies offer.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.