If you are shortly going to be going to hospital to have an operation, it might not necessarily be the most comforting thing to hear that your surgeon, in whose hands lies your life, has had a good deal of training playing computer games.
Yet, recent studies have actually shown that the vast majority of surgeons who do regularly play computer games actually have a much better success rate and accuracy rating than their colleagues who play games either very rarely or not at all. This might seem strange, but there are a number of statistics to back up this claim, and a number of reasons why this trend may be the case.
The study was carried out at a medical centre in New York recently, and they found that those surgeons who, on average, play three hours video gaming per week managed to work almost thirty percent faster than those who did little or no gaming, and were over forty per cent more successful in operations. The tests were carried out on simulated operations, using virtual reality and computer controlled equipment, which is in many ways very much the way any operations are now carried out.
Also with more and more operations requiring finer accuracy and greater precision, human hands and clumsy tools are not always able to achieve the standards required. Therefore, computers are used to carry out the surgery, controlled directly by the surgeon. Shakes, tremors and inaccurate movement might be ignored by the computer, and where the surgeon moves his hand a long distance, the computer reduces this proportionally, so that very fine work might be carried out by the surgeon which would not be possible using the hands directly.
It may well be that this type of surgery is closer to playing a computer game, by interacting through a computer, than the traditional surgery normally carried out, that does not involve a computer in any form other than to monitor life signs. For this reason, the familiarity with using a computer, including visual interpretation, control and understanding, could mean that surgeons should be playing computer games more commonly in order to improve their skills.
Certainly no one would complain if surgeons were bought a computer game for them to play for three hours a week, if it meant that overall surgical operations were carried out nearly thirty percent faster and with a greater degree of accuracy, exceeding forty percent gain.
This study did focus on one very specific kind of surgery, but it does pose a number of interesting possibilities. Also with computers increasingly becoming tools which are used in all day life, to what extent do skills gained either directly or indirectly through playing computer or video games transfer to these real life skills, providing a better training and improved performance overall?
Taking this ideas further, should all students in school be provided with three hours of dedicated playing time per week in order to speed up their work success rate and improve their grades? It is unlikely to happen, but the theory at least does pose a number of interesting points. Certainly it is unlikely that the idea would be discouraged by the students concerned.