Gaming could help dumb kids get smarter

Steven Hodson - Author

Jun. 15 2013, Updated 5:01 p.m. ET

Oh boy – you can bet this isn’t something that the goodie two-shoes crew will want to get out. However researchers at the University of California, Berkely, have shown for all the world to see that poor kid’s brains function differently from high-income kids.

That has really got to suck but the study; recently accepted to be published in the Journal of Cognative Neuroscience, has found that 9 and 10-year-olds with only their socio-economic positions to seperate them have detectable differences in the response of their prefrontal cortex. This is the area that is critical for problem solving and creativity.

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“Kids from lower socioeconomic levels show brain physiology patterns similar to someone who actually had damage in the frontal lobe as an adult,” said Robert Knight, director of the institute and a UC Berkeley professor of psychology. “We found that kids are more likely to have a low response if they have low socioeconomic status, though not everyone who is poor has low frontal lobe response.”


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All may not be lost though as Kishiyama, Knight and Boyce; authors of the report, are working with other Berkely researchers on possible ways to deal with this problem. These other neuroscientists believe that games will be able to help improve the prefrontal cortex function – reasoning ability – in school-age children.

Why do I see a whole bunch of new reasons for an Xbox under the tree this year?


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