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(Vice)   Researchers determine that cognitive decline begins at age 24. FARK: By studying StarCraft 2 players   (motherboard.vice.com) divider line 31
    More: Interesting, words per minute, RTS, Starcraft  
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1329 clicks; posted to Geek » on 13 Apr 2014 at 4:14 PM (14 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-13 04:37:42 PM
Well, they're studying cognitive-motor decline.  I don't think studying video gamers is really some sort of out-of-left-field thing, it's a free simulated environment that already implements a quantitative evaluation system of the thing they're measuring with most other variables pretty well controlled.

If they were to build a tests from scratch they'd basically be making something equivalent to a twitch-strategy game anyhow, and they'd have the additional difficulty of trying to get people to play it constantly over a period of 20 years.  Last bit's already kinda taken care of for SC/SC2 players, most of them haven't ever really stopped playing regularly since the mid-90s (or whenever they started playing) so there's not a lot of messy human behavior like training lapses farking up the data-set.

Essentially, this is a pretty obvious thing to take advantage of.  There are a number of cognition-related studies related to long-running games of other types, too, mostly FPSes.  You don't hear about them as often because most of the results aren't particularly pop-science newsworthy and mostly consist of finding null results (e.g. we study the data to see if FPS players are more violent than similar non-gaming groups, we find they aren't, we study gamers to find if their attention spans degrade relative to non-gamer groups, we find they don't, etc.  Not really riveting and dramatic revelations there.)
 
2014-04-13 04:52:29 PM
All I know is I can't get my aging ass out of Silver league in SC2 PvP. Once I start pushing to the upper levels of gold I get murdered.
 
2014-04-13 04:53:51 PM
So, younger people are more twitchy. I did not realize anybody didn't know that.
 
2014-04-13 04:56:38 PM

traxan: All I know is I can't get my aging ass out of Silver league in SC2 PvP. Once I start pushing to the upper levels of gold I get murdered.


Sounds like you need to go ZvP and rush roaches ;)
 
2014-04-13 05:11:27 PM
Um. No, the study showed cognitive-motor "skills" (i.e.: response time) decline (i.e: slow down) statistically after 24. Who didn't already know that?

And really, big whoop; Life isn't a twitch game. Or at least it shouldn't be.
 
2014-04-13 05:16:59 PM
ETA: Okay, I sit corrected. It took me so long to respond to the thread that four other responses, three of which had the same thing to say, got in before me. So obviously FARK is, at least in part, a twitch game.
 
2014-04-13 05:17:33 PM
I'm better at video games than I ever was before. I think alcohol consumption must counteract this.
 
2014-04-13 05:19:51 PM
Isn't that about the same age that the brain stops maturing (that is, you actually become an adult)?

Huh.

Adulthood really is a long downhill slope.
 
2014-04-13 05:23:02 PM

traxan: All I know is I can't get my aging ass out of Silver league in SC2 PvP. Once I start pushing to the upper levels of gold I get murdered.


blink micro is your friend XD
 
2014-04-13 05:25:21 PM

Jim_Callahan: There are a number of cognition-related studies related to long-running games of other types, too, mostly FPSes.


I do remember hearing one about having laproscopic surgeons play video games for about an hour or so before surgery. Apparently the games are awesome training, and surgeon performed better after having "prepped" on the game. Makes sense for hand-eye coordination.

Personally, I think I'm way more observant than the non-gamers around me. I notice shadows on the ground when people are around a corner and avoid collisions, while everyone around me thinks I'm psychic (thanks Counter-Strike). The other thing I notice, but I'm not sure if it's the generation I'm in or that I'm a gamer, but older folks (I'm 30, for reference) seem to get this idea that they can't learn anything past a certain age. Gamers tend to be more "Ooh something shiny? What it is? Can I play with it?" and way too curious. YMMV

Carolus99: traxan: All I know is I can't get my aging ass out of Silver league in SC2 PvP. Once I start pushing to the upper levels of gold I get murdered.

Sounds like you need to go ZvP and rush roaches ;)


I read "PvZ" (Plants vs. Zombies) and got very confused. . . .
 
2014-04-13 05:29:44 PM
Or, you can look at it as it being all uphill after 24:

www.plosone.org
 
2014-04-13 06:21:42 PM
Fast bad decisions are still bad decisions. Slow and steady.

Seems at age 24 you finally start using your brain before responding.
 
2014-04-13 06:32:10 PM

SacriliciousBeerSwiller: I'm better at video games than I ever was before. I think alcohol consumption must counteract this.


Ever have a LAN party where everyone's drinking and by the end you've got one eye closed and you're tying not to vomit or piss yourself while standing still and firing blindly at anything that moves?  Good times.
 
2014-04-13 06:56:16 PM

ReverendJynxed: Fast bad decisions are still bad decisions. Slow and steady.


I've always felt that the best decisions were the ones determined by the fewest if/then statements, and studies (don't ask me for a citation, but I remember reading about it on Fark) have shown that people who make decisions on one or two variables are more satisfied with their choices later, i.e. single-issue voters or people who decide what car to buy based on gas mileage and price alone. The more time you take, the more you agonize, and the more variables you consider, the less happy you are with your choice.

"Fast" then simply becomes a matter of how quickly you can get through your flow chart, or a reflection of "gut instinct" (like on school exams), not an assumption of an inadequate consideration of the problem. Many people think I make decisions too fast; then they sit and listen for 10 minutes for my reasons, usually end up agreeing with me, while the choice took me less than half a second to go through in my head. *shrug*
 
2014-04-13 06:56:56 PM
My main gripe w/ Starcraft is if you stop playing for any kind of length of time, you're going to get murdered and quickly. I got up to low gold, then stopped playing for awhile, came back, and now lose almost every single game. I can't even parse my failures to figure out what I'm doing wrong. It's like the skill gap grows exponentially when you stop.
 
2014-04-13 06:58:56 PM

Peki: ReverendJynxed: Fast bad decisions are still bad decisions. Slow and steady.

I've always felt that the best decisions were the ones determined by the fewest if/then statements, and studies (don't ask me for a citation, but I remember reading about it on Fark) have shown that people who make decisions on one or two variables are more satisfied with their choices later, i.e. single-issue voters or people who decide what car to buy based on gas mileage and price alone. The more time you take, the more you agonize, and the more variables you consider, the less happy you are with your choice.

"Fast" then simply becomes a matter of how quickly you can get through your flow chart, or a reflection of "gut instinct" (like on school exams), not an assumption of an inadequate consideration of the problem. Many people think I make decisions too fast; then they sit and listen for 10 minutes for my reasons, usually end up agreeing with me, while the choice took me less than half a second to go through in my head. *shrug*


But the point is that in Starcraft there is an objective, non-opinion metric to determine success and failure. Buying a car "you're happy with" is about personal feelings. Truthiness, and all that.
 
2014-04-13 07:34:25 PM
Tragically, the tests could not factor in Zergling Rushes.
 
2014-04-13 07:38:52 PM

sendtodave: Isn't that about the same age that the brain stops maturing (that is, you actually become an adult)?

Huh.

Adulthood really is a long downhill slope.


Far more complicated than that. There is no such thing as "cognitive ability", there are cognitive abiliTIES, and developmental research has shown that they demonstrate different patterns of age-related change. There are some abilities that peak in adolescence and decline throughout adulthood, while others peak in midlife, and others do not peak until old age. Further, some cognitive abilities plateau around adulthood and show no decline at all until one croaks, and others show continual improvement even through old age.
 
2014-04-13 07:40:21 PM

Trocadero: But the point is that in Starcraft there is an objective, non-opinion metric to determine success and failure. Buying a car "you're happy with" is about personal feelings. Truthiness, and all that.


Okay, never played SC, but familiar with the idea, so take my next point with a grain of salt:

May have an objective, non-opinion metric, but HOW you get there is entirely a decision-making process. Video game, car buying, voting, we're still talking about strategy, essentially.

Difference is in SC if you figure out your decision flow-chart sucks, much easier to adapt than to go "Crap, I don't like this car, can I have that one instead?" If anything, that proves my point more. Decision by flow-chart is easier to adapt to a variety of situations, whereas the agonizer would have to learn what damage each unit does and how many hit points each structure has and, and, and. . . and then do it all over again for each situation in which a decision has to be made (learning all the characteristics of the various cars to buy, for instance). The flow-chart does enough research to figure out what's important, picks one or two, and goes from there. Information efficiency, if you will.

/hmm. . maybe video games make for better decision makers. . .
 
2014-04-13 08:06:35 PM

Peki: Trocadero: But the point is that in Starcraft there is an objective, non-opinion metric to determine success and failure. Buying a car "you're happy with" is about personal feelings. Truthiness, and all that.

Okay, never played SC, but familiar with the idea, so take my next point with a grain of salt:

May have an objective, non-opinion metric, but HOW you get there is entirely a decision-making process. Video game, car buying, voting, we're still talking about strategy, essentially.

Difference is in SC if you figure out your decision flow-chart sucks, much easier to adapt than to go "Crap, I don't like this car, can I have that one instead?" If anything, that proves my point more. Decision by flow-chart is easier to adapt to a variety of situations, whereas the agonizer would have to learn what damage each unit does and how many hit points each structure has and, and, and. . . and then do it all over again for each situation in which a decision has to be made (learning all the characteristics of the various cars to buy, for instance). The flow-chart does enough research to figure out what's important, picks one or two, and goes from there. Information efficiency, if you will.

/hmm. . maybe video games make for better decision makers. . .


Starcraft also popularized the "Actions per Minute" metric, wherein the number of, as you may have already gathered, actions a player commits per minute are recorded. Typically those with a higher APM win because the game is all about doing things quickly in order to get further, faster.
 
2014-04-13 08:28:10 PM

Peki: Information efficiency, if you will.


Honestly, if you are not a psychologist that a remarkable intuitive insight. The competitive advantage of Informational efficiency depends on the richness of the data environment. Some environments are data rich--this is to say that there is a large amount of sensory data and it is often complex. Think of a jungle. In that case informational efficiency is critical to navigating the environment successfully. However, many environments are data poor--think of desert at twilight. In data poor environments perception is at a premium and what you call "agonizing" is the most useful survival strategy.

Descended from apes, humans have had to navigate both the jungles and the savannas. Video games are reflective of only the jungle half of that heritage. I tend to agree with the notion that in many modern contexts (such as high speed stock market trading) that informational efficiency is the key to success. But the key takeaway is that there is nothing inherent in that truth. From a survival perspective, what strategy is best in environment dependent. The psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has written extensively on this topic.
 
2014-04-13 10:20:08 PM
Not surprised. Virtually no one in the top echelon of e-sports over that age. Most are well below it.
 
2014-04-13 11:16:04 PM
"with apologies to a growing minority of female players, a young man's game."

Could have just said young persons game.
 
2014-04-14 12:04:59 AM
I can totally see this, while I don't currently play SC (Blizzard can go fark themselves), I do feel I've lost a step in The MMO I do play.
I find I just can't do the finesse build, keystroke chain nuke builds as well anymore, and do better in a slightly tankier version of them.

/40 years old.
 
2014-04-14 03:27:50 AM

Peki: Personally, I think I'm way more observant than the non-gamers around me.


Games are a form of conditioning. If noticing shadows in a gaming environment is conducive to surviving or success then you will become conditioned to notice shadows. If shadows were irrelevant in the game then you would not be conditioned to look for and notice shadows. After playing hundreds of hours of GTA you look at cars differently, likewise after playing hundreds of hours of Skyrim you notice flowers when you are taking a walk.
It's not that you are becoming more observant, you are becoming conditioned to respond to specific things that are important in the game you are currently spending time playing.
I'm not saying that you, as an individual, are not real observant, I'm saying you notice what you are conditioned to notice.
 
2014-04-14 03:40:26 AM
I thought it was fairly well known that cognitive thought tended to mature in the mid-20s, thus somewhat reducing idiotic behavior.

It would make sense that once a peak is hit, the decline would shortly follow.
 
2014-04-14 10:00:16 AM
one would hope you'd realize how stupid twitchy gameplay is long before you hit 24
 
2014-04-14 10:27:20 AM

Tryfan: Not surprised. Virtually no one in the top echelon of e-sports over that age. Most are well below it.


A lot of that has to do with sponsorship as well. Sponsors give money to people they think will make their company look good. Guys in their 30s with a beer gut don't tend to do that.
 
2014-04-14 12:47:35 PM

worlddan: Peki: Information efficiency, if you will.

Honestly, if you are not a psychologist that a remarkable intuitive insight. The competitive advantage of Informational efficiency depends on the richness of the data environment. Some environments are data rich--this is to say that there is a large amount of sensory data and it is often complex. Think of a jungle. In that case informational efficiency is critical to navigating the environment successfully. However, many environments are data poor--think of desert at twilight. In data poor environments perception is at a premium and what you call "agonizing" is the most useful survival strategy.

Descended from apes, humans have had to navigate both the jungles and the savannas. Video games are reflective of only the jungle half of that heritage. I tend to agree with the notion that in many modern contexts (such as high speed stock market trading) that informational efficiency is the key to success. But the key takeaway is that there is nothing inherent in that truth. From a survival perspective, what strategy is best in environment dependent. The psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has written extensively on this topic.


I disagree. Jungles and savannahs are different data sets; the underlying decision-making strategy is the same. You just have to learn which factors are important and what information to toss away.

No, I'm not a psychologist, so thank you for the compliment. I have throughout my life "played" with my brain (especially mnemonics, and I have near eidetic memory). A big breakthrough for me was when I learned that memory is location-based (see the Roman Room method; it also explains the situation when you walk into a room and forget why you're there). If you learn how the brain programs itself, since essentially it is a computer with organic circuits and chemicals instead of electricity, then you can do almost anything with it. I also play with kinetic memory (starting moves to a dance without being able to remember what the name of the dance is; inputting my library card number on the number pad without thinking about it, while it would take my brain longer to try to remember and say the number). I've always been about learning the important information the most efficient way, even in school.

But anyway, as far as decisions, it's always if/then statements. The agonizer can't build a flow chart, because all factors seem equally weighted, so they take way too much time and are generally dissatisfied and either make or think they made a bad decision. There's a reason teachers tell you to go with your "gut instinct" during tests. You CAN overthink something. Another disadvantage to agonizing is that you can't learn why you were wrong; you made a decision on so many factors, how can you tell which was the bad one? When an if/then decider makes an error, it's simply an alteration on the flow chart, and far more adaptable to any situation.

Investing? Same way. An agonizer would totally get lost in the details. I have a flow chart. Does the company give out dividends? Yes? Next step. Does the company have more cash on hand than long term debt? No? Bad company (there are more steps if the answer is yes, but you get the idea). I make at least 25% a year; a "good" Wall Street fund manager makes 8-10%. HFT doesn't matter; I'll use the same if/then strategy to invest in penny stocks as I do in my long-term holds. It's just that I have to pick different characteristics, because it's a different environment and a different "game."

/may have a slight advantage in that I have PTSD; learning to reprogram my brain/body interaction is going to be what the rest of my life is about

red5ish: I'm not saying that you, as an individual, are not real observant, I'm saying you notice what you are conditioned to notice.


The shadow was a singular example. I've stepped aside from a group of people to catch a ball no one saw coming, as well as other such circumstances. I make no judgment about it; it's other people that "Omg, you're so observant!" and think I'm all superpowered or something.
 
2014-04-14 03:35:27 PM
Sorry, I'm better and more efficient than was at 24.  (46 now)

Now...the accumulation of injuries and such has affected me, but I'm still better.
Just fart more.

If I put my mind to it...there's no comparison.
I just pace myself better now.

There's a big diff than going, going, going and then collapsing
and being steady...and resting as needed for shorter lengths.

When I was young, I put a lot of energy into going nowhere...getting less results.
Now I do what I call "cheetah bursts"...meaning take my time, thinking, pondering...then bam, it's done...and done better.

This includes games and sports.
Perhaps it helps that I teach martial arts.
 
2014-04-14 11:19:36 PM
In the video games they are talking about, while you are taking your time, thinking, and pondering, they are quickly getting ahead of you, and when you enact your brilliant scheme, you find out that all of those kind of games are based on snowballing, and your slow buildup has left you unable to catch up because you can't outplay their head start even if you could match their reflexes.

And you lose.

The people they are referring to have committed a higher percentage of their memory and muscle memory/training to the activity than you have because they have done less in their life. They ARE better than you are at 46. You might beat some, but apples to apples, they will be better.
 
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