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Why Playing Games is a Brilliant Move

GamesWhether you’re rolling the dice to move past “Go” or speeding around curves like Mario, numerous studies show playing games of almost any kind stimulates thinking. Board games, chess, word games, games of strategy and the like are obvious choices. But did you know shooting hoops, playing interactive video games, golf, even playing charades in your living room, are all brilliance-builders too? Name the game and chances are it helps you think better and think faster, but note that different types of games enhance different parts of your intellect.

Research shows that throughout life, your brain can develop and change depending on current challenges. So it’s a good idea to provide a variety of activities that stretch and exercise the different facets overall, just as you would for your body. Many games boost more than one skill area, but here are a few get-smart options:

Mathematical Intelligence:

Board games enhance logical mathematical intelligence (the numbers department of your brain). Video games, perhaps a less obvious contender, are also known to increase math skills. Both game genres can sharpen the type of thinking that’s associated with brilliant scientists, mathematicians, investigators, accountants; they help you quantify and calculate more quickly and accurately. As a related but interesting side note – mathematically intelligent people also are generally skilled at perceiving connections and relationships, as well as thinking inductively and deductively.

Neuroplasticity:

Research shows that the brain actually grows, changes and creates new connections at all ages and stages of life. Your mind meets challenges head on, so if you’re forced to deal with say, complex situations in action-based video games, eventually your thinking adapts to overcome the challenges. Your brain finds new neural connections and can link different areas together, helping you adapt to video – and real-life – situations. Video games can improve decision-making, memory, focus, and even reaction times; and as challenges become more complex (as in, you move up a level), this forces your brain into broadening your range of abilities and skills needed to win.

Memory Boost:

Active sports and exercise have long been known to help memory and thinking overall – scientists say exercise can reduce inflammation and insulin resistance, and release chemicals that positively affect brain cell health. Just about any active game or sport makes the cut – golf, tennis, running, basketball, even those good-old-fashioned, run-around-the-yard games like Capture the Flag you may have grown up with.

From creating new connections and new ways of thinking, to boosting specific thinking skills and overall knowledge, games always play an important part in our lives. When you attend AICPA’s ENGAGE this June in Las Vegas, you’ll find an entire assortment of new connections, innovative pathways, knowledge that grows your expertise and plenty of ways to fire up those synapses. What you’ll also find are brain-building games of skill and strategy – such as Topgolf – which mixes neuroplasticity with fun, and creative thinking with social opportunities. ENGAGE is a neuron-connecting four days of learning and opportunity, with numerous ways to grow and develop your brain.

Jennifer Gardner, Manager Communications-Member Learning and Competency, Association of International Certified Professional Accountants

Games courtesy of Getty Images.

 

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