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Study shows action video games improve dyslexic reading performance

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Action video games have been shown to produce a potential for improved reading performance in people that have dyslexia by helping to overcome the inability of dyslexic people to switch from auditory to visual stimuli as rapidly as average readers according to research conducted by Vanessa Harrar of the University of Oxford in Britain that was published in the Feb. 13, 2014, edition of the journal Current Biology.

The study involved average people and people with dyslexia who were asked to push a button when they heard a sound, saw a picture, or experienced both sensory inputs at the same time. The time that each participant took to respond to a stimulus was recorded and evaluated.

People that had dyslexia were as fast as average people when they saw only a picture or heard only a sound but were slower to respond when they heard a sound and saw a picture at the same time. The inability to switch between sensory inputs is one of the major problems that dyslexic people experience and is a part of the problem people with dyslexia have learning to read because most initial reading experiences involve both words and pictures.

The researchers conclude that teaching the alphabet to dyslexic people should follow the opposite pattern of teaching that is used for the average person. Hearing the sound of a letter or word first and then seeing the written letter or word improved dyslexic people’s rate of learning to read.

The researchers also contend that fast action video games may be useful in training dyslexic people to overcome the lack of ability to switch between sensory stimuli quickly because the intensity of video game input is high and produces instant results that are both visual and auditory.

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