The ability to play certain games has always been a mark of high intelligence. The prime example being chess where an individual with a high chess ranking is assumed to be a very intelligent person. For the most part, this concept holds true but only ...
Kevin Anderton , Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
The ability to play certain games has always been a mark of high intelligence. The prime example being chess where an individual with a high chess ranking is assumed to be a very intelligent person. For the most part, this concept holds true but only among a few chosen games. The fact that I am simply unbeatable at Candy Land does not lend me the same social status as a chess grandmaster. The reason for this is because chess requires certain mental abilities like visualizing possible moves, short-term memory, strategy, and more whereas Candy Land is pretty much a game of blind luck. As it turns out the world of video games is very similar. Success in certain types of games requires a great deal of intelligence while others simply do not. Some of these games may, in fact, require more intelligence than any other game on Earth.
Recently two studies were conducted to measure the connection between intelligence and video game performance. The main focus of these studies was a genre of games known as Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas or MOBAs. These games feature two teams of 5 players facing off against each other. The goal is usually to take over the other team's base. Each player controls a single unit on the field of battle and that unit can be any one of a number of characters with unique abilities and moves. By communicating with their team the players can engage in complex strategies in order to win the game. MOBAs are among the most popular games on the planet with at least 100 million registered active users. The genre was chosen because it requires a strong memory and a deep understanding of tactic and strategy in order to win. These are traits that may tap cognitive resources that are linked to fluid intelligence.
Study #1 The first study focused on a relation between fluid intelligence, which is an ability to solve new problems and use logic in new situations, and player rank in a game called League of Legends. To do this they got together a pool of 56 LoL players, who all had at least 100 ranked and unranked games under their belts. They then measured fluid intelligence using the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence-II Matrix Test and a test called Reading the Mind in the Eyes which helped to measure the player's ability to work with teammates and predict movements in their opponents. This information was then compared to the players League of Legends record. Riot Games, makers if League of Legends, keeps a detailed database of the behaviors and performance of LoL players. This information was obtained using the player's nickname and a publicly accessible website that interfaces with the Riot Games API database.
Study #2 The second study approaches the concept from a different angle. Any measure of raw intelligence follows an age profile that shows a peak in a person's early to mid-twenties and then a decline afterward. If there is truly a correlation between game performance and intelligence then we should be able to see that profile in gamer rankings. In order to examine this concept, they looked at four different games in two genres. In the MOBA genre, they looked at data from League of Legends and DOTA-2. If the theory is true then they should see it in the data of these two games. Just as a control comparison they also looked at data from the First Person Shooter genre by getting data from the games Destiny and Battlefield 3. These games value skills like reaction time and targeting accuracy over memory and multifactorial decision making. When comparing the two they should see a difference between the two genres.
The result of the studies can be seen in the infographic below.
Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas require high levels of intelligence to win
If you would like to learn more you can read about the study here.
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