A new study has found that playing video games can dramatically improve your accuracy with real weapons. Suddenly, teenagers all across America have a solid rebuttal to their question, “Why do you play so many video games?”
Test subjects played video games that used a pistol-shaped controller and aimed it at the screen to shoot virtual targets. Participants were then asked to fire a realistic gun at human-shaped targets. Not only were the test subjects who had just played video games much more accurate than the test subjects who hadn’t, but they also aimed for the head much more frequently. The video game players also scored nearly twice as many head shots as the other participants.
Brad Bushman, the co-author of the study and a professor at Ohio State University, does not attribute the increased number of head shots to increased levels of violent aggression brought on by the game. Rather, shooting video games tend to reward accurate shots to the head, and that tendency translated over to the real shooting test.
Playing video games may increase your accuracy, but there have been no links between violent video games and violent crimes. In fact, recent studies have found that shooting video games can help veterans conquer PTSD, so we shouldn’t be so quick to throw out our consoles with the bathwater.
We can actually use these findings to help develop accuracy with guns. After all, flying drones for the USAF is nearly identical to a high-tech video game, so why couldn’t we similarly prepare troops with digital battlefields?