Video games improve shooting accuracy

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Video games improve shooting accuracy
  • Just 20 minutes of playing a violent video game turned players into more accurate shooters when firing a realistic gun at a mannequin.
Just 20 minutes of playing a violent video game turned players into more accurate shooters when firing a realistic gun at a mannequin and were more likely to aim for and hit the head, a new study found.

Players who used a pistol-shaped controller in a shooting video game with human targets had 99 percent more completed head shots to the mannequin than did those who played other video games, as well as 33 percent more shots that hit other parts of the body.

The study also found that participants who reported habitual playing of violent shooting games also were more accurate than others when shooting at the mannequin, and made more head shots, the journal Communication Research reports.

It's not surprising that video games can improve shooting accuracy -- the military, police departments and others already use video games for training purposes, said Brad Bushman, study co-author professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University.

But this is the first study to show that average players using violent shooting games with realistic human targets can improve firing aim and accuracy. "For good and bad, video game players are learning lessons that can be applied in the real world," Bushman said, according to an Ohio statement.

Bushman conducted the study with Jodi Whitaker, graduate student in communication at Ohio State. The study involved 151 college students who first completed questionnaires measuring their aggression levels and their attitude toward guns, and asked about their firearms training, their favourite video games, and how often they played them.

They then spent 20 minutes playing one of three different video games: a violent shooting game with realistic human targets that rewarded head shots (Resident Evil 4); a nonviolent shooting game with bull's-eye targets (the target practice game in Wii Play); or a nonviolent, non-shooting game (Super Mario Galaxy).

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