The Psychology of Gaming


The Simpson Center for the Humanities is a multidisciplinary institute that fosters cross-disciplinary inquiry among UW faculty members. The group’s study of video games explores the social constructions of popular video games. Despite a common misconception, gamers are not nerds or utter morons. They just enjoy a different type of activity. However, gaming requires a high level of skill and mental concentration. As such, it’s a good idea to get some information about the psychology of gaming before engaging in it.

Many video games require players to think on their feet and solve puzzle-like tasks. These games develop problem-solving skills and enhance hand-to-eye coordination. Gamers tend to have better sensorimotor skills and are therefore better at performing tasks requiring speed and accuracy. A study of young people found that a large majority of gamers were better at problem-solving than non-gamers. It is therefore safe to assume that gaming can improve the performance of surgeons in a variety of professional and educational scenarios.

Online gaming has grown in popularity along with mobile gaming. While not all games can be played online, all current PCs, consoles, and mobile devices are capable of online gaming. Online gaming involves playing with others across the internet. Some online games have a friend system that allows players to match up with other gamers. Others group players based on preferences or randomness. The risks and rewards of online gaming will be discussed in the next article. In the meantime, enjoy your game!