Researchers at the University of Rochester say adults who play a lot of action video games may be improving their brain’s ability to process visual information. They say people who used a video-game training program saw significant improvements in their ability to notice subtle differences in shades of gray, a finding that may help people who have trouble driving at night or in the fog.

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In her new book The Trouble with Boys, former Newsweek education reporter Peg Tyre argues schools and parents do boys a disservice when they reign in boys natural play that involves fantasy violence — like a little game of cops and robbers. “There is a palpable sense,” she writes, “that the ways in which boys play need to be suppressed or rigidly controlled.” Such control, she argues, inhibits boys ability to learn and understand the world. Violent video games, she says, could be beneficial as an outlet for boys naturally violent tendencies.

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In a new scholarly journal article, Texas A&M psychology professor Christopher Ferguson argues there is no significant relationship between violent video games school shootings like those at Virginia Tech and Columbine High School. A sense of “moral panic” rather then good science is driving many people to conclude that violent games lead to violent acts, said Ferguson.

Ferguson’s article appears in the Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling.

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