The study, published in the journal Current Biology, also found that the children who played the action video game for 12 hours saw a larger improvement in reading skills than they would have from an average amount of reading during an entire year. The authors hypothesized that action video games rapidly honed players' visual attention spans and taught them to extract critical information from the environment -- two skills that are crucial to reading.
The team's findings contradict the conventional wisdom that video games are "bad for young brains," and it will likely be a boon to video game advocates like media theorist Steven Johnson and game designer Jane McGonigal. Johnson argued in his controversial book Everything Bad Is Good For You that video games boost players' IQ, while McGonigal wrote in her book Reality Is Broken that games teach players confidence and altruism.
The study's authors are likewise optimistic, writing in their paper's summary that video games might potentially provide a "new, fast, fun remediation of dyslexia." Still, as the BBC reports, the study's lead author tempered his enthusiasm: "These results are very important in order to understand the brain mechanisms underlying dyslexia," he said, "but they don't put us in a position to recommend playing video games without any control or supervision."
[H/T Science Daily]