In this day and age, video games have surpassed their original, intended purpose of simply providing entertainment. For example, the United States military uses video games in every branch of the armed forces for several main purposes: to recruit soldiers, to train them, and to treat their psychological disorders after war, such as PTSD. Now, other industries are taking notice of how video games can be used in unconventional training methods, like in healthcare.
The best video gamers possess quick reaction times and expert hand-eye coordination, all similar qualities to that of a great surgeon. These similarities beg the question of whether or not gaming skills have any effect on basic robotic surgery skills, using the Intuitive DaVinci Robot, which we recently put to the test by using expert robotic surgeons, expert video gamers, medical students and lay people as subjects in a robotic simulation study. Previous research has shown that video game use could improve performance in basic laparoscopic surgical tasks. However the results from our study may be surprising to the scientific community.
Can playing video games make you better at other tasks? Maybe it created better hand dexterity and quickness. Maybe it develops 3-D spatial reasoning? Maybe it builds a faster connection between eyes, brain, and hands. That is exactly what we’re currently testing at the Nicholson Center using expert robotic surgeons, expert video gamers, medical students and lay people as test subjects.