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A large group of computer games studies is devoted to their influence on the cognitive development of a person: memory, attention, reflection, and cognitive functions in general. There are conflicting studies. There is a theory according to which computer games are dangerous for our psyche, especially for the children but it is not entirely consistent with the research data.
The study of computer games in terms of cognitive development began very early in the history of psychology. The first experiment dates back to the years 1980–1990 and is related to the study of spatial abilities. This is our ability to orient in a three-dimensional and two-dimensional world. For example, by means of this ability, we can find the right way using the map which is two-dimensional.
The studies show that the spatial abilities of computer game players are evolving. The computer games are believed to be the ones to blame in the decreasing of gender differences of the spatial abilities. As a rule, women have less developed special abilities compared with men. Recently, thanks to technological development, these differences are almost erased. Female and male gamers can deal with tasks connected to spatial ability with the same efficiency. However, all the gamers do it better than people who do not play computer games at all.
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Therefore, the question concerning the way these experiments should be conducted arises. Most of them are based on the comparison of people who play computer games, and people who do not play. However, in this case, we can hardly talk about clear cause-effect relationships. It is possible that people with certain cognitive features play computer games better, that’s why they like computer games, and people who do not play computer games have these features less developed.
In other studies, all subjects initially do not know how to play or play equally well. As part of the study, they conducted through a series of actions, that is, they played computer games, and then their characteristics were compared with the original results and present results. The question about the possibility to conduct a sufficient number of experiments arise. For example, experienced players have hundreds of hours spent playing. However, the time devoted to the test is limited, and it can last up to ten hours of playing per one experiment. Thus, it is impossible to monitor the progress of developing these features. Which occupation is better drinking or playing computer games? Despite the fact that the last one is rather controversial, alcohol has an even more significant impact on the child http://star-writers.com/blog/underage-drinking-essay-impact-of-alcohol-on-teenagers.
There is contradictory data on how spatial abilities develop by means of computer games. Recent neuropsychological studies, according to which the subjects are subjected to specially organized game sessions, show changes in the volume of gray matter in the hippocampus, that is, in areas that are associated with the orientation in space. In this case, the subjects were three-dimensional arcade game players and action game players. It happens with a certain probability and depends on the strategy players use.
There are two global spatial orientation strategies that are distinguished in this field: one is based on spatial factors and one based on memorization, i.e., unconscious influence on the actions of the player. This effect differs much with regard to the chosen strategy by the player. However, these changes sometimes do not influence the behavior of the player in real life.
According to another neuropsychological study, there is no difference in the brain activity of the experienced players and those, who never played computer games. However, there was a difference in the speed of information processing. The ones who played computer games are faster and more accurately dealt with the assignments connected with the identification of written symbols. At the same time, they did not demonstrate any peculiarities in the work of the brain, which allows one to say that whether they are better or worse in solving these tasks at the level of neural response. In this case, we also talk about the action games which makes it harder to test such an effect of computer games experimentally.
Any experiment that proves that positive effect of computer games takes place contradicts another test that demonstrates that there is no positive effect. The best conclusion that can be made is that computer games have a slight impact on the human brain. It is not strong enough to cause some significant changes as those who support or oppose commuter games would like it to be.
The studies of the Daphne Bavelier group, which show many different positive effects from specially organized game sessions, are rightfully criticized for the lack of control over motivational factors. Players can be more motivated to solve tasks for cognitive development during the experiment. Attention and spatial thinking tasks seem like a game and maybe more familiar and curious to them.
Human memory and all the processes connected to it are well-studied today. There are a long-term memory and short-term memory. The second one is also called a working memory since it contains the information necessary to deal with the tasks you are currently busy doing. The long-term memory is much more complicated to study because it requires more serious research. However, today, the scientists are confident that our long-term memory, that is, the ability to memorize information for an unlimited term is deteriorated. It is connected with the technological progress due to which people rely on the internet and other devices which exclude the necessity to memorize something. If you want to keep your memory sharp to process a significant amount of information, you need to follow these six simple steps.
Computer games do not refer to long-term memory directly. There are more connected to short-term or working memory. According to the studies conducted in this field, the working memory of the players is seriously developed compared to non-players. Usually, it is connected with the need to memorize a large amount of information like quests, dialogues, characteristics, etc.
Computer games and multitasking
The game is aimed at multitasking. This is another stumbling block of modern information technologies and their research. Multitasking is a typical current trend. A lot of studies show that it is natural for us to track several sources of information: read something simultaneously analyzing information and recalling something. However, aged people never do multitasking since it is rather difficult for their brain to process this amount of data.
The resolution of the American Psychological Association shows due to the multitasking, an individual spends more time and resources, and his or her nervous system experiences more stress because switching from one task to another is the most resourceful. That's why we are not actually engaged in several activities at the same time, we switch from one activity to another and vice versa.
Most of the scientist oppose multitasking. There is a couple of reliable evidence that multitasking decreases the volume of certain areas of the brain and thus, the amount of information processed by the brain. It sounds logical since due to multitasking you pay a decreased amount of your attention to each of your tasks. Other studies associate multitasking with decreased empathy, reflection, and deterioration of the productivity of the human brain.
However, multitasking is one of the crucial attributes of our reality, and it is required not only for games. It is challenging to avoid multitasking with an intense lifestyle of a modern person. Players are likely to be better in multitasking than non-players, and they even can use it in their day-to-day activities. Nevertheless, multitasking is dangerous for our brain on the current level of its development.
Technology influences brain plasticity and can actually cause changes in brain structures. The games which are aimed at something more than just entertainment were based on this idea. The difference between serious and entertaining games lies in the tasks the player should solve. Today, the computer games industry is very economically and technologically developed, and it is also carefully studied by many scientists. Sometimes children spend a lot of time playing computer games since they experience a lack of attention from their parents and it might result in drug abuse. Read about the consequences at http://star-writers.com/blog/essay-on-drug-abuse-harm-and-consequences-of-drug-use.
However, there are particular problems. These computer games should be interesting and exciting in order to have such an effect on players. They should drag a player in it. They must involve the person in the game. They should also be devoid of the potential adverse effects action games and shooters have. If there will be any anger or stress inciter in this game, it can't be used for potential experiments or training.
The most important thing is that it should work and that’s when the problems come. The research in the field of computer games should be independent. The experiments can’t be conducted by the company that invests in computer games since they are interested in a particular outcome of these experiments.
One common problem for the research in the field of computer games is publication bias. This is the preferred publication of a specific group of articles. Articles that prove the presence of the effect is always more appreciated than articles with negative results. Therefore, studies that show that computer games have an adverse impact or do not have one at all are less likely to be published.
There are very few works that compare developing and entertaining computer games. Basically, they do not reveal the particular benefits of games aimed at the development of the brain and cognitive functions. The studying by means of computer games is another field of knowledge that should be studied separately.
The problem of cognitive development among players is the same as with the issue of their possible aggression. There is enough data to suggest that the effect of computer games exists. However, such information is always disputed, and there is still something ambiguous with its interpretation. Even changes at the level of structures and brain activity cannot always be unambiguously interpreted. For example, chess players have some areas of the brain decreased, but this is considered a positive effect of the specification.
The more serious study is required. So far, it can be said that players develop the ability to play this very game without developing their brain in general. That is, there is the problem of switching from one activity to another.
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