Rosenkranz Remarks

The Blog of Robert Rosenkranz

Live Tonight: Will Video Games Make Us Smarter?

by robertrosenkranz on May 10, 2017

Robert Rosenkranz will introduce tonight’s debate. Tune into the live debate here.

As video games gain prominence, some game creators are turning to global issues, such as poverty alleviation, international diplomacy, and combating climate change, for inspiration. Playing these socially minded games, they argue, allows users to build tangible skills in combating crisis and solving critical problems. But others see the multi-billion-dollar gaming industry, dominated by portrayals of crime and war, as a threat that desensitizes its users to violence and encourages anti-social behavior.  Will video games soon provide innovative solutions to our most pressing social, political and economic challenges?  Or is the impact of gaming overrated and potentially destructive?

Where Do You Stand?

For The Motion

  • Playing action video games can improve cognitive skills like problem-solving, the ability to focus, and reaction times—gains that can carry over into other areas of life.
  • Innovators are creating video games that educate and promote social change for the better.
  • Despite their reputation, research shows that there is no causal link between video games and aggression.  In fact, video games have been used to fight mood disorders like depression.
  • Game-based learning should be embraced by adults and children alike to both garner interest in learning new topics and to help students succeed in an increasingly connected and digital universe.

Against The Motion

  • Video games are not making us smarter.  Small improvements are offset by the atrophying of other areas of brain functioning and the stimulation of compulsive tendencies.
  • The observed cognitive gains from gaming have not been found to be transferable to related tasks or cognitive performance overall.
  • Gaming can become all-consuming, leading to social isolation and the shirking of real-life responsibilities.
  • Video games rely on binary win/lose mechanisms for evaluating success. An over-reliance on them as learning tools could impede the development of skills necessary to navigate real-world challenges.

Cast your vote tonight.

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