New Study Finds a Link Between Online Gaming and Higher Grades

New Study Finds a Link Between Online Gaming and Higher Grades

A new study finds a positive link between online gaming and higher grades.

A new study - Internet Usage and Educational Outcomes Among 15-Year-Old Australian Students - tracked the exam results of 12,000 Australian 15-year-old students, and found that those who spend time playing video games online are more likely to earn higher grades in core subjects in school.

The students filled out forms which discussed their lifestyle and behavior choices, with use of single and multiplayer online games being one of the options on the questionnaire. They also participated in a Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test, which measures abilities in literacy, math, and science. When scores were compared with the questionnaires, it was found that students who play games online almost every day scored 15 points above average in math and reading and 17 points above average in science.

Not all online behavior showed such a positive result - students who spent a lot of time using social media sites like Twitter and Facebook performed 4 points below the average.

"The analysis shows that those students who play online video games obtain higher scores on PISA tests, all other things being equal," writes Alberto Posso, an associate professor at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, who published the research. "It is argued that social networks have a high opportunity cost of study. Although this may also be true of video games, gameplay appears to equip students to apply and sharpen knowledge."

"When you play online games you're solving puzzles to move to the next level and that involves using some of the general knowledge and skills in maths, reading and science that you've been taught during the day."

It's not clear from the research whether the games themselves are contributing to higher test scores, or if higher scoring students are more drawn to online gaming. Either way, it's nice to see a positive study about video games.

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Lizzy Finnegan:

It's not clear from the research whether the games themselves are contributing to higher test scores, or if higher scoring students are more drawn to online gaming. Either way, it's nice to see a positive study about video games.

...Is there some sort of discussion value too all this? You kinda blow the whole study with that one paragraph. I was gonna say "Correlation does not imply causation" and make some sarcastic joke about it but it seems kinda redundant.

Hmm, no, this doesn't seem right. Why only online games? They are mostly reactionary, whereas single player experiences are potentially more driven towards problem solving. How does correlation somehow equal causation to this guy? Who is funding this study? I think there are other factors to take into account here. Sorry, just seems a little off to me. :(

Xsjadoblayde:
Hmm, no, this doesn't seem right. Why only online games? How does correlation somehow equal causation to this guy? Who is funding this study? I think there are other factors to take into account here. Sorry, just seems a little off to me. :(

I wouldn't say it 'sounds off' because I think it's very feasible; I mean if you did the same study 10-15 years ago you'd probably get similar results because most online gaming was done by 'nerds' and probably still is. Assumptions are just assumptions until they get worked on so disregard the researcher's musings.

Whether one is caused by the other or they are both the result of a 3rd variable is not in the testing but it's still more proof that gaming is, in fact, a positive thing and not just a series of murder simulators.

Xsjadoblayde:
Hmm, no, this doesn't seem right. Why only online games? They are mostly reactionary, whereas single player experiences are potentially more driven towards problem solving. How does correlation somehow equal causation to this guy? Who is funding this study? I think there are other factors to take into account here. Sorry, just seems a little off to me. :(

My guess would be because a lot of online games involve evolving strategies and metas, due to either the evolving nature of the game, or the fact that you're pitting yourself against other players. Where as most single player games are static experiences that people are just as likely to just google the answer of a puzzle to, than try to figure it out themselves.

Synigma:

I wouldn't say it 'sounds off' because I think it's very feasible; I mean if you did the same study 10-15 years ago you'd probably get similar results because most online gaming was done by 'nerds' and probably still is. Assumptions are just assumptions until they get worked on so disregard the researcher's musings.

Whether one is caused by the other or they are both the result of a 3rd variable is not in the testing but it's still more proof that gaming is, in fact, a positive thing and not just a series of murder simulators.

Who is even still calling them murder simulators though? This looks merely like a late confirmation that games aren't bad, y'all. But considering there have already been studies previously covering a much wider focus group, I do not see what motivation this study has. People who have access to online gaming generally have that access through methods that allow them further access to a variety of information and inspiration. Why pin it solely to online gaming? Without testing other factors? It appears a little amateur, i'm hesitate to say.

Solkard:

My guess would be because a lot of online games involve evolving strategies and metas, due to either the evolving nature of the game, or the fact that you're pitting yourself against other players. Where as most single player games are static experiences that people are just as likely to just google the answer of a puzzle to, than try to figure it out themselves.

Perhaps, but hardly much more than pattern recognition and maybe social interaction alongside teamwork tactics. Which are all positives, no doubt. But none that can't be acquired elsewhere or learnt beforehand. Nevertheless, It's more the motivation behind this fairly vague study and stretched conclusion that has me wondering.

So.... Nerds play videogames. Am I missing something?

Note: I'm a nerd too before people lose their shit -.-

Xsjadoblayde:
[quote="Synigma" post="7.941520.23749255"]

Who is even still calling them murder simulators though? This looks merely like a late confirmation that games aren't bad, y'all. But considering there have already been studies previously covering a much wider focus group, I do not see what motivation this study has. People who have access to online gaming generally have that access through methods that allow them further access to a variety of information and inspiration. Why pin it solely to online gaming? Without testing other factors? It appears a little amateur, i'm hesitate to say.

*sigh* No one is calling them murder simulators, I was just trying to sum up all the negative press that gaming has gotten over the years in one sarcastic remark.

I think you're misunderstanding the study; It's not about video games directly and it doesn't imply that gaming is directly responsible for the educational difference. It was a study directed at how 15 year olds use the internet and how that correlates to their education. That is also why it's specifically ONLINE gaming and not single player, they were interested in internet usage.

But this is a gaming website so of course they pulled out the detail relevant to gaming. The study itself is about something different so I'd recommend not judging it on one statistic pulled out of context.

...Maybe it's because of their competetive nature? In single player games you don't compete against other people, in online games, you usually do(or with them on your side). Maybe it's a spirit of rivalry in online gaming that reflects itself in the real life? It'd be wise to compare these results with kids who compete irl, in sports, for example.

Sadly, my first instinct is almost always to cry "bullshit" to every study. My first reaction to this one was (the same as everyone else's) to say that it seems more believable that smarter kids might just enjoy online gaming more. But, before I can say any of that, I need to read the study. And I tried. But that thing is 26 pages long, devoid of any graphs or charts, and boring as hell. On page 11 of the study I read the following...

"That is, it is possible that children who are already gifted in the areas of math, science, and reading are also more likely to play online games and children with lower academic abilities spend more time socializing.11"

and the 11 footnote says:
"11 I am thankful to an anonymous referee for making this point."

So, thank you Alberto Posso for crying bullshit on your own paper and acknowledging some anonymous douchebag like me on the internet for calling you out.

Synigma:

*sigh* No one is calling them murder simulators, I was just trying to sum up all the negative press that gaming has gotten over the years in one sarcastic remark.

I think you're misunderstanding the study; It's not about video games directly and it doesn't imply that gaming is directly responsible for the educational difference. It was a study directed at how 15 year olds use the internet and how that correlates to their education. That is also why it's specifically ONLINE gaming and not single player, they were interested in internet usage.

But this is a gaming website so of course they pulled out the detail relevant to gaming. The study itself is about something different so I'd recommend not judging it on one statistic pulled out of context.

Ah, sorry, I think my wording and lack of spacing made it read far less calm than I was actually meaning; was in a rushed, frantic moment whilst typing at current location due to hectic environment that probably contributed.. It is just a common niggling doubt I have with various studies, alongside that the paper wouldn't load on device, so had to take the article at face value, But I see and understand your point now. :)

I find that hard to believe based on the type of person I run into playing online games...

I refute this study based on the anecdotal evidence of my first semester in college paired with WoW launching.

Oh, so this study is totally legit? The one about sexism from a few months ago was "severely flawed". Let's not bother dissecting this one because "it's nice to see a positive study about video games". Reality and truth be damned, the only valid studies are the ones that confirm our views.

Major_Tom:
Oh, so this study is totally legit? The one about sexism from a few months ago was "severely flawed". Let's not bother dissecting this one because "it's nice to see a positive study about video games". Reality and truth be damned, the only valid studies are the ones that confirm our views.

We Aussies know our study methodology.

So online gamers arent toxic after all. we needed a study to figure it out apparently.

Xsjadoblayde:
Hmm, no, this doesn't seem right. Why only online games? They are mostly reactionary, whereas single player experiences are potentially more driven towards problem solving. How does correlation somehow equal causation to this guy? Who is funding this study? I think there are other factors to take into account here. Sorry, just seems a little off to me. :(

I learn english by chatting with people in a MMO, so theres plenty to learn i online gaming. Online also has the competition and meta that are far more problem-solving demanding than singleplayer game where you can just "try it over and over again". Puzzlers are small in terms of popularity and their answers are all online nowadays.

I dunno about this. Online games tend to suck people in and end up using alot of their time, more so than regular video games. I would say that it's not the actual reason any of them are A-OK, and that they'd be even more improved without the game. Not, mind you, without unwinding and relaxing from the stress of classes and study, but specifically without online games and the massive distractions therein, since it seems to me that the world agrees that there is a certain obsession with these things.

Online games. Smarter kids. Better test scores. Blah, blah, blah. Don't care.

The thing that caught my eye was - "Not all online behavior showed such a positive result - students who spent a lot of time using social media sites like Twitter and Facebook performed 4 points below the average."

This? This pleases me. I quite literally 'laughed out loud' when I read that.

I've been saying it for years: Facebook and Twitter are systematically making the human populace dumber, angrier, and more ignorant, either by draining people of logic and critical thought or by attracting the knuckle-draggers of society and giving them a podium.

Stay. The. Fuck. Off. Of. Facebook and Twitter. It's for your own good.

Studies also show that 67% of statistics are made up on the spot.

Given that most kids would love to beable to play online games all day, I'm going to assume those that don't likely have after school work, or otherwise too poor to afford a decent rig ... or engaged in juvenile delinquency (often problematic outcomes of poor households) where in lieu of playing games they skip school or spend all evening with their friends.

The number of variable causal sociological factors seems to suggest nothing. As I'm certain some kid studying will outscore someone who doesn't. In one of the linked articles one person said as such that it was speculative at best.

Put it this way... if you have a laptop to study on, and play games inbetween researching, you're going to have better access to information regardless than a poor youth with no laptop. Which suggests more that every Australian parent on welfare with children should be given a laptop and internet credits than given games.

I have done my own study that contradicts this, and it is entitled: "The Lives of Me and All of My Friends".

Video games open you up to new ideas. Plenty of games teach you things like history, even if there is added flare. Dynasty Warriors got me super into Chinese history. Did Zhao Yun kill 1000 Wei soldiers? Probably not...but I know who Zhao Yun is. And Ive since delved into my own study of the period to learn the fact from the fiction. I know Sun Jian did a lot of what Guan Yu is credited with, I know that Diao Chan is probably not real, and I know that Liu Bei is a terrible husband.

Plus plenty of games challenge your world views, make you think critically, and obviously all the constant problem solving.

Saelune:
Video games open you up to new ideas. Plenty of games teach you things like history, even if there is added flare. Dynasty Warriors got me super into Chinese history. Did Zhao Yun kill 1000 Wei soldiers? Probably not...but I know who Zhao Yun is. And Ive since delved into my own study of the period to learn the fact from the fiction. I know Sun Jian did a lot of what Guan Yu is credited with, I know that Diao Chan is probably not real, and I know that Liu Bei is a terrible husband.

Plus plenty of games challenge your world views, make you think critically, and obviously all the constant problem solving.

You could say the same about youtube, the cinema, and playing Netrunner at the LGS weekly tournament. Did you know Caissa was a dryad usually portrayed as the goddess of chess? Netrunner might help you learn that, too.

Call me skeptical... but I believe the true causal relationship is the fact said students are wealthy enough their kids have access to a computer of their own and a whole lot of poorer kids might not.

Addendum_Forthcoming:

Saelune:
Video games open you up to new ideas. Plenty of games teach you things like history, even if there is added flare. Dynasty Warriors got me super into Chinese history. Did Zhao Yun kill 1000 Wei soldiers? Probably not...but I know who Zhao Yun is. And Ive since delved into my own study of the period to learn the fact from the fiction. I know Sun Jian did a lot of what Guan Yu is credited with, I know that Diao Chan is probably not real, and I know that Liu Bei is a terrible husband.

Plus plenty of games challenge your world views, make you think critically, and obviously all the constant problem solving.

You could say the same about youtube, the cinema, and playing Netrunner at the LGS weekly tournament. Did you know Caissa was a dryad usually portrayed as the goddess of chess? Netrunner might help you learn that, too.

Call me skeptical... but I believe the true causal relationship is the fact said students are wealthy enough their kids have access to a computer of their own and a whole lot of poorer kids might not.

I do. But I think the interactive aspect of gaming gives it a major edge that less/non-interactive media doesn't.

As for your computer thing...ofcourse access is part of it. You have to play the games to get the effects. Not that I don't admire your "computers for children" desire, I think its not really the point here. If you gave a poor kid a computer and all they did was watch cat videos and discuss Taylor Swift drama on Twitter, I don't think they would become any smarter.

Its like talking about how books can also help you learn, but going on about illiteracy. Obviously if you cant read you cant benefit, but being able to read doesn't mean they will use it for learning.

Saelune:
I do. But I think the interactive aspect of gaming gives it a major edge that less/non-interactive media doesn't.

As for your computer thing...ofcourse access is part of it. You have to play the games to get the effects. Not that I don't admire your "computers for children" desire, I think its not really the point here. If you gave a poor kid a computer and all they did was watch cat videos and discuss Taylor Swift drama on Twitter, I don't think they would become any smarter.

Its like talking about how books can also help you learn, but going on about illiteracy. Obviously if you cant read you cant benefit, but being able to read doesn't mean they will use it for learning.

I don't know... I work my brain harder in Netrunner than I have any MMO. For starters, it's an asymmetrical game where the rules and what you can do depends on the role you're playing... secondly, there is way more meta and interactivity in board games. After all. You're sitting there ... looking at someone... trying to determine whether they put an agenda in a remote server, or it's just a way to force you to spend all your credits breaking ICE for a pointless asset.

Assuming we're talking about videogaming compared to boardgaming ... how board gaming tends to be more directive based, though not necessarily.

Way more bluffing, psyching out, subterfuge, and surprises in Netrunner than any MMO I've ever played. And that's becsuse I'm face to face with another human. They'll be talking up one of their resource card combinations late game as if they're really special, in friendly gamer banter. When in truth your attention should be focussed on how many Shivs they have in their icebreaker suite, and recalling they've likely used up their recursion capabilities to bring them back into play again... realizing you can fuck them over by putting one more sentry ICE in a scoring remote.

Puzzles! Scarily deep puzzles, bristling with strategic complexity....

What I'd like to see is studies showing how well board gamers benefit from weekly games nights/tournaments and academic studies.

Dealing with people directly is always going to be more 'interactive' than a RNG and a chatbox. I'd rather my children play board games personally. Not that I'd ban video games...

A: it's something we can bond over better...

B: I think board gaming also teaches good etiquette in the right gaming circles. In the right gaming circles, that is... (I feel the need to stress this after a particularly unfortunate incident at a MTG regionals... Netrunner, due to banning money awards, is a far less toxic crowd... but apparently they've cleaned it up a lot in the last 11 years...)

The thing is if a child has easy access to the internet to play games, they have easy access to use the internet to do homework. To study. To research and properly plan out a pre-essay before formalising it into a proper poece of academic writing. A kid who doesn't have that is going to suffer. Hence all Australian parents on welfare should receive a laptop and internet credits for every child over 10.

It will cost us less in the long run... and even if it only raises up a handful of children to receive a better chance of university admittance it will pay for itself. I think the message to take from this is; "Easy internet is good, hard to access internet is bad...."

Even if that might not account for all the difference in scores, I'm willing to bet it is the largest contributing factor.

Xsjadoblayde:

Synigma:

*sigh* No one is calling them murder simulators, I was just trying to sum up all the negative press that gaming has gotten over the years in one sarcastic remark.

I think you're misunderstanding the study; It's not about video games directly and it doesn't imply that gaming is directly responsible for the educational difference. It was a study directed at how 15 year olds use the internet and how that correlates to their education. That is also why it's specifically ONLINE gaming and not single player, they were interested in internet usage.

But this is a gaming website so of course they pulled out the detail relevant to gaming. The study itself is about something different so I'd recommend not judging it on one statistic pulled out of context.

Ah, sorry, I think my wording and lack of spacing made it read far less calm than I was actually meaning; was in a rushed, frantic moment whilst typing at current location due to hectic environment that probably contributed.. It is just a common niggling doubt I have with various studies, alongside that the paper wouldn't load on device, so had to take the article at face value, But I see and understand your point now. :)

Yeah, I was just trying to be positive. I agree that this doesn't really mean a whole hell of a lot by itself. And it's definitely good to have doubt when it comes to any social science (or any science really) until it's been replicated a few times. I just find that too often the news focuses on negative things so when I hear positive stuff I try to encourage it. :)

People need to remember this is a prime case of trying to apply some story to statistical variation, which of course is what you need to make your study seem worth while and to have a news story.
But it's the same old variety of "we asked 100 people if they eat peanuts and have cancer" -> "BREAKING NEWS: Peanuts Cure Cancer!".

 

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