Research Suggests Gamers Get Better Grades, While Social Sites Rot Your Brain

It might seem counterintuitive, but new research hailing from Australia is suggesting that teenagers who play video gamers actually score higher on academic tests than their non-gamer counterparts. The data was compiled from over 12,000 Australian high schoolers that took the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).

PISA is an internationally-recognized test that is used in over 70 countries worldwide, and assesses the academic competency of 15-year-olds in reading, mathematics and science. Alberto Posso, an Associate Professor from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, came to some rather interesting conclusions from the data he compiled. Analyzing the test results showed that students who frequently used social networking sites like Facebook or apps like Snapchat ended up wasting their brain cells, scoring on average 20 points lower in math, reading and science compared to those who didn’t partake in the online “social scene.” With that being said, we find it hard to believe that there are many teenagers these days are completely cut off from these social websites and apps.


However, the most revealing part of the study came from comparing scores of students that regularly gamed to students that don’t. “The analysis shows that those students who play online video games obtain higher scores on PISA tests, all other things being equal,” wrote Posso in the study. “Gameplay appears to equip students to apply and sharpen knowledge learned in school by requiring them to solve a series of puzzles before moving to the next game level.

“This may be because many online games require players to solve puzzles that, in turn, require some understanding of these three subjects.”

On average, student gamers scored 17 points higher in math and reading, and 15 points higher in science compared to the non-gamer counterparts.

However, Posso couldn’t find a definitive link between gaming and academic excellence. On the one hand, it could be argued that that those students that are naturally gifted in math and science are more likely to take part in blasting their friend into bloody giblets in online deathmatches. On the other hand, Posso admits that it could just be that students who excel at the academic level simply might have more time on their hands to take part in gaming activities.

With that being said, don’t take these findings as proof that gaming automatically leads to better grades. Besides the results being inconclusive, every student is different, and excessive gaming was shown to lead to slightly lower scores across the board. In other words, tread lightly.