Smart people are better at video games

Expert discussion: Video games make you smart - and fat

WORLD ONLINE: Science is currently discussing video games a lot, but mostly as a danger. Why?

Dietrich Dörner: Those people who feel that see things there that they find shocking. You see killer games, or strategy games in which entire armies kill each other. Also, parents don't understand that their children are so fascinated by games.

WORLD ONLINE: Is this fascination with game fans dangerous?

Dörner: When a football fan cares a lot about his team, buys t-shirts and scarves and so on, no one finds it worrying. That is treacherous. The only problem is that the parents don't know and don't understand it. There are a lot of lyrical games, "Myst" or something like that, but they don't get that far to notice it.

WORLD ONLINE: Do you find video games harmless?

Dörner: Well, there is a legitimate concern that people who just sit in front of the computer will get fat and stop exercising.

WORLD ONLINE: Which is better: game or life?

Dörner: The game belongs to people, it is the exploration of new realities. You know Huizinga. Think Shakespeare: we all play all the time. We play roles, pretend to others. A rich and creative thing like a video game is an extension of normal life.

WORLD ONLINE: In their main work "The Logic of Failure" they described how people fail because of the complexity of life. New video games have also become extremely complex. Are they as hard today as real life?

Dörner: I do not think so. By the way, they are part of life, so when games become more complex, life becomes more complex. Strategy games, for example, are still far less complex than real conflicts - such as Russia versus Georgia. But the game it has evolved. Chess, which has always been considered the king's game, looks poor compared to many computer games.

WORLD ONLINE: Has research, for example in your field of psychology, found anything negative about games?

Dörner: At the moment she is finding out a lot of positive things. Rather, people can learn a lot with complex games. The thesis of the American author Steven Johnson is that games make us smarter. The common thesis that we go dumb when we play is nonsense. Games can awaken skills in us that also help in normal life. The typical experimental research that dominates in psychology is not at all suitable here. They put someone 15 minutes before a game and measure whether it gets more violent afterwards - that's ridiculous and childish. You would have to watch much longer, watch the family and talk to the players.

WORLD ONLINE: A number of popular science books are currently being published on the subject of games, with titles such as “How does computer games change thinking”. Why do we always ask for this? You don't ask how smoking, ice hockey or office work change thinking.