"Video games rot your brain" — hands up if you've ever had a parent/teacher/relative tell you that? I must have heard it on a daily basis from my parents, but it turns out you were wrong Dad. Playing video games actually has the potential to do the direct opposite:it can actually help your brain to grow.
In a recent study conducted at the Max Planck Institute, researchers found that playing Mario 64 for just 30 minutes a day helped increase the size of brain regions responsible for spatial orientation, memory formation and strategic planning. Which, in a weird way makes total sense because when you play a video game you are practising all of those skills.
According to the study a "significant" growth in gray matter around specific areas of the brain as a result of this "training".
"While previous studies have shown differences in brain structure of video gamers, the present study can demonstrate the direct causal link between video gaming and a volumetric brain increase," said study leader Simone Kühn.
"This proves that specific brain regions can be trained by means of video games."
One suggestion from the study is that video games could possibly be used to treat certain issues affected by the region of the brain that experienced growth in the study. Mental diseases like post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and neurodegenerative disease — in theory — could be helped by playing video games.