Over in Ventura County down here in California, Professor Douglas Gentile has done us gamers a favor: proving that gamers can be surgeons, too. Well, not really. Still, check out this excerpt:
Gentile looked at 33 laparoscopic surgeons, who perform minimally invasive procedures by inserting a camera and instruments into a patient through small incisions while looking at a television monitor.
“We gave them a survey that asked them about their current and previous video game playing,” Gentile said. “And then we had them play three video games and scored them.”
The games were “Star Wars Racer,” “Silent Scope” and, of course, “Super Monkey Ball.”
“Each of these three games had elements we thought would be relevant in a surgical arena: precision targeting, two-handed choreography, non-dominant-hand dexterity, tracking, and using three-dimensional information off a two-dimensional screen,” he said.
Then, each surgeon was scored in a surgical simulation.
Guess what Gentile and his team found?
“The two biggest predictors of advanced surgical skill were how much surgeons had played video games in the past and how good they were playing video games currently,” he said.
Video game talent was a better predictor of surgical success than how many years of training each surgeon had or how many surgeries they had actually performed, he said.
In fact, the study found that surgeons who had played video games for three or more hours a week in the past were 27 percent faster and made 37 percent fewer errors than those who did not.
Still, Gentile warned that “this is not to say that video gamers are better surgeons. There’s a lot of things that go into being a good surgeon, like bedside manner and decision-making. This is not how good they are as an overall surgeon. This is about their precision techniques.”
However, video games may, and probably should, be used to train surgeons, Gentile said.
Well, I guess this gives you aspiring surgeons a reason to play your games. And a good reason to ask your parents to buy you games for you teens. Just don’t let video games be the reason why you got kicked out of medical school.
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