Children are spending an increasing amount of time in front of devices. It is fiercely discussed how this impacts their health and if it has a favorable or detrimental influence on their cognitive capacity. Researchers from Karolinska Institutet and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam investigated the relationship between screen usage and intellect overtime for this study.
Over 9,000 boys and girls from the United States were included in the study. The children have gone through a series of assessments to test their cognitive abilities. The team also collected data that includes the average time spent by each child on video games, television, and social media.
Around 5,000 of the children were followed up on after two years and asked to repeat the psychological assessments. The researchers were able to analyze how the children’s test performance differed from one testing session to the next, as well as adjust for individual variations in the first test. They also took into account genetic variations that might impact intellect as well as variances related to the parents’ educational status and wealth.
The children spent 2.5 hours a day on average watching TV, half an hour on social media, and one-hour playing video games. The results revealed that individuals who played more games than the norm enhanced their intellect by around 2.5 IQ points between the two measurements. There was no significant influence of TV viewing or social media, either good or negative.
“We didn’t evaluate the impacts of screen behavior on physical activity, sleep, wellness, or school achievement, so we can’t say anything about that,” says TorkelKlingberg, professor of cognitive neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Neuroscience. “However, our findings support the premise that screen time does not typically harm children’s cognitive capacities and that playing video games can aid enhance intellect. This is consistent with various experimental investigations of video gameplay.”
The study again proved that intelligence is not constant and external conditions can affect the intelligence level of an individual. Swedish Research Council and the Strategic Research Area Neuroscience at Karolinska Institutet (StratNeuro) supported the research and we can expect more revelations from the researchers soon.