StarCraft makes you smarter, according to research

A new study claims that playing real-time strategy video games can help people become faster thinkers.

It's widely understood that people who play twitch games, like shooters, improve their non-gaming perceptual processes. But researchers at Queen Mary University and University College London wanted to find out if playing fast-paced, complicated games that require lots of multitasking and quick-thinking, might help non-gamers improve their higher-level competencies such as cognitive flexibility.

Groups of non-gaming students were tasked with playing either StarCraft or The Sims, intensely, over a two month period. They simultaneously took a series of non-gaming tests.

The researchers discovered that the subjects who had played StarCraft performed at a higher rate in cognitive flexibility tasks than those who had played The Sims, which is a more sedate experience.

"Previous research has demonstrated that action video games, such as Halo, can speed up decision making,' said researcher Dr. Brian Glass. "The current work finds that real-time strategy games can promote our ability to think on the fly and learn from past mistakes."

More from Polygon

A guided video tour of an Unreal Tournament map

  • Freedom Planet gameplay video

  • Adventure Time trailer

  • Hearthstone: Naxxramas Overview

  • Oddworld: New 'N' Tasty - Overview video

Latest Discussions

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.



Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.