Cybersecurity

By Ben Bain

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Does playing video games really make you smarter?

Can playing a really intense video game or becoming immersed in a cyber virtual world actually help you do your real world job better?

That's not just an argument for gamers, but the organization that conducts research for intelligence agencies is also interested in finding out specifically how virtual world prowess carries over to the real world.

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency (IARPA) wants focused, quantitative research on how gaming and virtual world immersion could boost problem-solving skills, critical thinking, teamwork and persistence. IARPA issued a request for information on March 12 and plans to hold an upcoming workshop on this topic, and possibly issue a solicitation for research.

“It is well known that analysts can be hampered by problems of groupthink, premature attachment to early hypotheses, confirmation bias, and cultural bias, for example,” the RFI stated. “Might gaming environments provide an antidote?”

IARPA said studies to date show that immersive environments can affect real world performance, but the agency said much of that previous research has focused on case studies and gross-level effects.

The agency said it’s interested in identifying the important environmental variables, such as image and sound quality, level of immersion, amount of repetition, and cultural background, that control those effects. So far, few metrics have been developed, IARPA said.

Responses to the RFI are due April 12.

Posted by Ben Bain on Mar 17, 2010 at 12:12 PM


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