The gamers learn a sensorimotor skill that requires a pattern of coordination between vision and motor movement quicker than non-gamers do, the findings showed.

"We wanted to understand if chronic video game playing has an effect on sensorimotor control, that is, the coordinated function of vision and hand movement," said lead researcher Davood Gozli from the University of Toronto in Canada.

In an experiment, 18 gamers (those who played a first-person shooter game at least three times per week for at least two hours each time in the previous six months) and 18 non-gamers (who had little or no video game use in the past two years) performed a manual tracking task.

Using a computer mouse, they were instructed to keep a small green square cursor at the centre of a white square moving target, which moved in a very complicated pattern that repeated itself.

The gamers were significantly more accurate in following the repetitive motion than the non-gamers.

"This is likely due to the gamers' superior ability in learning a sensorimotor pattern, that is, their gaming experience enabled them to learn better than the non-gamers," Gozli concluded.

Their study was published in the journal Human Movement Science.

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