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The Cognitive Benefits of Playing Video Games

Sep 29, 2023 | Serious Games

Ever considered integrating video games into your workplace? Before you dismiss the idea, let’s explore the science behind gaming and its cognitive benefits. Here’s why video games might be the next big thing in team building and employee engagement.

1. Gaming and Cognitive Skills: The Connection

Research has shown that playing video games can have a profound impact on cognitive skills. For instance, action video games have been found to improve perceptual processing skills. But it’s not just about action games. Custom-designed games, built on cognitive theories of skill learning, have shown promise in enhancing specific cognitive skills outside the game environment1.

2. Portal 2: More Than Just a Game

A study focusing on Portal 2, a 3D puzzle game, revealed that players exhibited significant improvements in problem-solving, spatial skills, and persistence compared to those who played Lumosity, a brain training game. This suggests that certain video games can be more effective than dedicated brain training apps in enhancing cognitive abilities.

3. Custom-Designed Games: Targeted Skill Enhancement

While off-the-shelf games intended for entertainment might not always lead to significant cognitive improvements, games designed to train specific cognitive skills have shown effectiveness in enhancing those targeted skills1. For instance, a study found that a custom-designed game aimed at children with reading learning disorders improved their motor coordination, reading speed, and visual attention.

4. The Broader Picture: Gaming and Collaboration

It’s not just about individual cognitive gains. Digital games have evolved into communal activities, promoting collaboration and communication. These are essential skills in the corporate world, making gaming a potential tool for fostering teamwork and collaboration.

5. Practical Implications for the Workplace

The research suggests that for effective cognitive training with games, it’s essential to choose games that repeatedly exercise the target skill, provide feedback, offer increasing levels of challenge, and present varied game contexts. This means that a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work. Instead, HR teams should carefully select games that align with the desired skill enhancements.

Conclusion: Ready to Game?

Corporate leaders, it’s time to embrace the gaming revolution! With the right approach, video games can be a powerful tool for cognitive enhancement and team building. So, why not introduce a gaming hour at work? It’s fun, engaging, and scientifically-backed!

Disclaimer: While video games offer numerous cognitive benefits, it’s essential to ensure a balanced approach between work and play.


  1. Flores-Gallegos, R., & Mayer, R.E. (2022). Learning Cognitive Skills by Playing Video Games at Home: Testing the Specific Transfer of General Skills Theory.
  2. Shute, V.J., Ventura, M., & Ke, F. (2014). The power of play: The effects of Portal 2 and Lumosity on cognitive and noncognitive skills.