Neuroscientist to Discuss Action Video Games as Learning Tool

January 10, 2011

Daphne Bavelier, Ph.D.

Cognitive scientist Daphne Bavelier, Ph.D., will discuss her work using video games to explore the remarkable capacity of the brain to adapt as part of a lecture series highlighting biological and biomedical research at the University of Rochester.

Bavelier will discuss her research this Friday, Jan. 14, in the Class of ’62 Auditorium (Room G-9425) at the Medical Center. The talk, part of the “Second Friday Science Social” lecture series, is geared mainly to faculty, staff and students at the University, though the general public is welcome as well.

Bavelier, professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, is an expert on the brain’s ability to learn and adapt to an ever-changing environment. For the past decade, she has employed video games as a way to explore the brain’s ability to adapt – a capability crucial for people trying to recover from a stroke or a traumatic brain injury or for people seeking to keep their mind as sharp as possible as they age.

By studying people as they play action games like “Call of Duty 2” and “Unreal Tournament,” Bavelier has made a number of surprising discoveries. She has found that playing the games improves players’ vision; makes them faster, more accurate decision makers; and improves their ability to multitask. Her work has been featured on NPR, CBS News, the New York Times, and many other major news outlets, and just last week was featured on PBS NewsHour.

The ultimate goal of the work is to better understand the brain’s capabilities and perhaps to tap that knowledge to improve the lives of patients who are aging or who have suffered a brain injury.

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