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Scientific Evidence Reveals That Playing Video Games Increases IQ in Children

Scientific research  from the Department of Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet has recently revealed that playing video games is actually helpful in boosting children’s IQ. 

The paper published in Scientific Reports, is one of the most detailed resources that dispels misconceptions that video gaming reduces a child’s intellectual capacity.

To inform their research, the scientists who worked on the research paper dubbed “The Impact of Digital Media on Children’s Intelligence” chose 9,855 kids in the ABCD Study as their sample study group. These children were all  between the ages of 9 and 10. Among the kids in the study, 5169 had a follow up study performed on them two years later. 

The participants were asked to rate the amount of time they spent on certain visual media both on weekdays and weekends. The media in question included movies or TV shows, online videos, computer, phone tablet and console games, texting on phone, computers or social networks, and even video chats. 

Although there have been similar studies, with almost similar results, the Karolinska study stands apart. The painstaking accuracy that the researchers tried to maintain is what sets this study apart. Similar studies failed to take into account factors like socio-economic standing of the children in the research sample. This negatively impacts the data collected.

For this research however, the researchers carefully considered variable factors like; genetics and socio-economic backgrounds and the results their study unleashed are nothing short of remarkable.

What Were the Findings?

According to the findings, the children spent on average two hours 30 minutes watching TV daily, 30 minutes on social media and one hour playing video games. Interestingly, those who played more video games showed an increase in their intelligence levels by at least 2.5 IQ points. There wasn’t a change for those who actively consumed more TV or social media content. 

“Our results support the claim that screen time generally doesn’t impair children’s cognitive abilities, and that playing video games can actually help boost intelligence. This is consistent with several experimental studies of video-game playing,” said Torkel Klingberg, professor of cognitive neuroscience at the Karolinska Institutet.

Specifically, playing video games can help kids improve their capacity in visual spatial processing, reading comprehension and task focused memory. It can also boost their self-control and make them more flexible thinkers. 

Are There Other Researchers That Believe Video Games Increases IQ in Children?

This line of thought also has support from other researches conducted over time. The study explains that, “ Empirically, the cognitive benefits of video games have support from multiple observational and experimental studies. Their benefits to intelligence and school performance make intuitive sense. They align with theories of active learning and the power of deliberate practice. “ 

On the flip side, this study largely comprised participants of European descent. This means it may not accurately represent the effect of gaming on children who do not have white ancestry. 

Even so, the Karolinska study is still a major breakthrough for the gaming industry. Its findings can help make more child-friendly games geared at further improving children’s intellectual and cognitive abilities. 

So what are your thoughts about this research that video games increases IQ in children? Which games does your child like playing? Do let us know in the comment section or our social here.


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