video games iq

It is a known fact that people who are good at chess have above average IQ level. Puzzles and strategies are supposed to increase brain power too. But can we say that playing modern titles like Dota 2 or PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds can tell something about gamers’ intelligence quotient? Well, some British researchers can tell about video games and IQ relations.

Love strategies? Probably, you’re smart!

Research team led by Professor Alex Wade from the University of York found out that there is a link connecting people’s ability to play different video games and their general intelligence. Although the researchers haven’t determined exactly whether playing certain games makes people smarter or the smart people choose certain games. Interestingly, they discovered how to measure gamers’ IQ during the gameplay. 

In their IQ test more than 50 skilled players of the popular MOBA League of Legends took part. They were asked to complete a standard IQ test using just papers and pencils. Surprisingly or not, but the results confirmed that the players who performed better at the game had higher scores. In addition researchers proved that highly ranked League of Legends players are able to score 115-120 IQ points, which means they are in the top 15% of the population.

Another study gathered more than 20,000 professional gamers from the two groups. First group included MOBAs fans playing League of Legends and Dota 2 regularly. The second one consisted of the players experienced in such 1st person shooters as Destiny and Battlefield 3. The results were pretty surprising: players from the strategy games group performed best in games at the age of 22-27 – the time when they experienced their IQ peaks (which could be explained by the necessity to use memory very often and to make a lot of strategic decisions). At the same time, the players from the second group didn’t show similar age patterns. 

While the players from MOBA-genre group performed a ‘low,high,low’ pattern with peaks in mid-twenties, FPS players were following a ‘high,high,low’ pattern which meant that young players were doing better in this genre and their performance tended to decrease with age.

How can this data be used?

Since there are hundreds of millions of people around the world playing the same games the results from these studies open a unique source for analyzing the connection between IQ and behavior represented in a video game. Moreover, it would be possible to estimate IQ and detect its increase or decrease for a certain country or the entire population using the data from the most popular video games. This also means new opportunities in the cognitive epidemiology field, where scientists explore the links between intelligence and health and are constantly monitoring the brain health of all humans.

Video Games and IQ

The researchers believe that by monitoring IQ on a nation or worldwide level they get an opportunity to detect possible declines in people’s cognitive abilities and see the reasons why it could happen. 

Apparently, the conclusion that any click on mouse or tap on the phone could generate a lot of data for sociologists or marketers, makes no surprise. However, the connection between video games and brain health or brain power brings new light on the gaming industry. 

According to the research, the behavior which is performed during gameplay can reflect the behavior shown at the different (non-game) activities. The scientists even suppose that the data grabbed from various video games could determine whether some recent environmental, political, or social events had any impact on human brain development. 

Unfortunately, there are no too many studies dedicated to the links between IQ and video games. However, the results performed during the research initiated by British scientists prove that the data gathered from the players behavior can be used in different fields and show the global trends in the development of humans cognitive abilities.