Segments in this Video

"Debate Housekeeping" (05:53)


Moderator John Donvan frames the debate on whether video games will make us smarter, instructs the audience to vote, and introduces panel members.

Opening Statement For: Asi Burak (06:38)

Games for Change Chairman and Power Play CEO, Burak and his team created a game about the conflict in the Middle East. He often heard that players better understood the conflict as a result of playing PeaceMaker. He views video games as a learning tool with much potential.

Opening Statement Against: Elias Aboujaoude (06:54)

Stanford University OCD and Impulse Control Disorders Clinics Director and author, Aboujaoude states that modern video games are easier to confuse with real life than older technologies. Some individuals experience an attachment so intense that it negatively affects other aspects of their lives. He cites negative impacts of technology on cognitive abilities.

Opening Statement For: Daphne Bavelier (06:20)

University of Geneva Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Akili Interactive Co-Founding Advisor, Bavelier discovered benefits in cognition and attentional control in those who play action video games. Learning with video games is no different than learning with other forms of media—small distributive practice.

Opening Statement Against: Walter Boot (06:07)

Florida State University Attention and Training Lab Director, Boot states that we often readily believe that the things we like are good for us. Scientific literature states that training improves one's performance on the task he or she was trained on; benefits do not translate much beyond that task. He cites evidence video game proponents use to support claims.

Audience Poll and Summary (03:48)

Donvan asks audience members a series of questions about themselves and summarizes the opening statements for and against the proposition on whether video games will make us smarter.

Clinical Efficacy (02:28)

Bavelier states that different types of videos games have different impacts; her research has been abused by some companies. Boot agrees that higher standards are necessary before making a conclusion. Donvan cites the "fault line" in the debate.

Games Teach About the Real World? (05:44)

Burak states that games are systems with rules; the power of design is important. He argues that the majority of games are not about violence. Aboujaoude contests the idea that games can be predominantly peaceful and encourage positive aspects of society.

Transferable Skills (03:37)

Boot states that games can teach you things, but questions if it improves IQ or problem solving abilities. Bavelier emphasizes different technology uses have different effects; it is difficult to achieve transfer.

Gaming and Learning (04:27)

Aboujaoude argues that video games as a family of activities do not have evidence to support the notion that games make us smarter; data supports negative effects. Burak cites iCivics as an example of improving intelligence. Boot argues the transferability of skills and intelligence correlation.

Technological Cycle (04:51)

Bavelier considers the development of an IQ test that exhibits digital literacy sensitivity and the movement away from an oral culture. Aboujaoude reflects on the fast evolution of technologies and the ability of the human brain to keep up with development.

Technology and Education (04:33)

Panelists consider the future role of video games in the classroom. Bavelier considers the ability to learn. Aboujaoude is interested in more research being performed.

Q/A: Reactive vs. Proactive Learning (05:09)

Donvan reveals the results of the audience poll. Bavelier states research indicates games are preparation for learning. Boot agrees that games can allow an engaging way to explore a problem. Burak believes most school learning experiences are currently reactive. Aboujaoude cites a therapy analogy.

Q/A: Unemployment and Gaming (01:57)

Panelists consider the argument that people in the future will spend most of their time in a gaming situation and find meaning in games.

Q/A: Artistic Experience in Gaming (02:33)

Boot agrees that video games can be art but questions if it could translate to intelligence as defined by others. MoMA curates video games as pieces of art.

Q/A: Is Cognitive Development a Zero-Sum Quantity? (03:50)

Bavelier states there is a study underway of giving young children tablets. Her team asked parents and children about gaming habits; too much gaming can be debilitating. Boot states that time is a zero-sum game.

Q/A: Engagement and Information Retention (05:01)

Aboujaoude states there is a correlation between the amount of gaming time and the traits of ADHD and stimulant prescriptions; some games help with inattention. Bavelier states that evidence suggests attentional control is a gateway to brain plasticity. Burak considers pioneering examples.

Closing Statement For: Bavelier (02:28)

Bavelier's children grew up in prototypical gender stereotypes regarding technologies. Multimedia tasking is linked to attention deficit and attentional control.

Closing Statement Against: Boot (02:13)

There is no evidence to support the motion that video games makes us smarter. Boot cites opportunity costs.

Closing Statement For: Burak (02:24)

Well designed games with a purpose can move beyond making us smarter. How do we do a better job of understanding the gaming medium?

Closing Statement Against: Aboujaoude (02:39)

Aboujaoude cites the best-selling games of 2016. These games and the internet can nurture negative personality aspects. Brain wiring and industry interests are obstacles to balancing our online and offline lives.

Time to Vote (05:06)

Donvan instructs the audience to vote. He thanks participants and supporters, cites ways to watch Intelligence Squared, and introduces the next debate.

Results of Audience Vote (01:04)

Pre-Debate - For: 40% - Against: 23% - Undecided: 37%. Post-Debate - For: 53% - Against: 32% - Undecided: 15%

Credits: Video Games Will Make Us Smarter (00:04)

Credits: Video Games Will Make Us Smarter

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Video Games Will Make Us Smarter: A Debate

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
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3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



Do video games make players smarter? As these games grow in popularity, some game creators are tackling global issues, such as poverty, climate change, and international diplomacy. Playing these socially and politically oriented games, they argue, allows users to build tangible skills in handling crises and solving critical problems. But others see the multibillion-dollar gaming industry, dominated by portrayals of crime and war, as a threat that desensitizes players to violence and encourages anti-social behavior. Will video games soon provide innovative solutions to our most pressing social, political, and economic challenges? Or is their impact overrated and potentially destructive?

Length: 96 minutes

Item#: BVL144316

ISBN: 978-1-64198-299-3

Copyright date: ©2017

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video customers.