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Our perceptual abilities allow us to rapidly detect changes and identify objects in our environment. Gaming experience may alter our basic perceptual abilities. Using PLAy’s perception test, you can gauge how your abilities change over time.


Our learning abilities allow us to adapt to changes in our environment and master associations between objects and events. Successful gamers quickly learn which situations are beneficial and which are harmful. Gaming experience may alter our basic learning abilities. Using PLAy’s learning test, you can gauge how your abilities change over time.


Our attentional abilities allow us to focus on what is crucial and minimize harmful distractions. Attention makes it possible to follow a conversation in a restaurant by blocking out the chatter at the next table. Gaming experience may alter our basic attentional abilities. Using PLAy’s attention test, you can gauge how your abilities change over time.

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Who We Are

We are a group of scientists passionate about gaming and cognitive science. For several years, we have been researching the cognitive benefits of gaming. As members of Generation Atari 2600, we have watched gaming grow in popularity and are eager to fully understand its impact on how we Perceive, Learn, and Attend through PLAyIQ.

What We Do

Can video gaming alter your brain and enhance your mental skills? How do you stack up to the competition? PLAyIQ quantifies and tracks how your mental abilities change as a result of gaming. PLAyIQ makes personalized recommendations about which games are best for you. By joining PLAyIQ, you also contribute to science by helping to advance our understanding of how experiences shape the brain.

Science Blog

Gaming Genre and Cognition / Dobrowolski, et al., 2015

"We investigated an important aspect of this field that has not yet been empirically addressed: the role of video game genre. Our comparison of two video game player groups of specific genres (first-person shooter and real-time strategy) indicates that cognitive abilities (measured by task switching and multiple object tracking) may be differentially enhanced depending on the genre of video game being played."

Dobrowolski, Hanusz, Sobczyka, Skorko, & Wiatrow, 2015

Often, video game research just clumps all Gamers together into one category: Video Game Players. This resarch is interesting because it pits First Person Shooter gamers against Real-Time Strategy gamers. It turns out that while both sets of gamers have faster processing speed than a control group of Non-Gamers, the Real-Time Strategy gamers had even faster reaction time speeds in a visual processing task. It is critical to understand how different types of video games have different effects on human cognition, and that's exactly our goal here at PlayIQ.

  • Genre, FPS, RTS, Visual Attention
  • Computers in Human Behavior
  • Polish Academy of Sciences
  • Jagiellonian University

Super Mario & Brain Plasticity / Kühn, et al., 2013

"Video game training augments GM in brain areas crucial for spatial navigation, strategic planning, working memory and motor performance going along with evidence for behavioral changes of navigation strategy. The presented video game training could therefore be used to counteract known risk factors for mental disease such as smaller hippocampus and prefrontal cortex volume in, for example, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia and neurodegenerative disease."

Kühn, Gleich, Lorenz, Lindenberger, & Gallinat, 2013

Playing Super Mario 64 can actually increase your brain volume! In this study, people played about 50 minutes per day for a total of 50 hours (in Super Mario lingo, that's an average of 37.4 Stars total). Using fMRI, the researchers found increased gray matter volume in the hippocampus -- a part of the brain responsible for memory functioning. At PlayIQ, we are interested in finding out psychological changes for all different types of video games.

  • Brain Volume, Nintendo, Memory
  • Journal of Molecular Psychiatry
  • Max Planck Institute
  • Charité University
  • Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

Gaming and the Brain

One possibility is that gamers are akin to mental athletes who increase their mental fitness through play. It's common sense that physical exercise improves physical fitness. For example, regular training runs should improve endurance in a variety of sports, whereas weight training should increase strength.

One exciting scientific question is whether video gaming "exercise" is analogous to physical exercise. If so, more regular and intense gaming should lead to the largest mental improvements. However, like physical exercise, any gaming should be better than no gaming at all.

Continuing the analogy to physical exercise, certain types of games may be better suited toward enhancing particular mental skills. For example, playing real-time strategy games like StarCraft may increase attentional but not perceptual abilities. The P, L, and A in PlayIQ are drawn from three mental components, Perception, Learning, and Attention. These three mental components are critical to success in gaming, as well as non-gaming endeavours.

At PlayIQ, we evaluate how gaming alters our mental abilities by examining performance patterns across thousands of players. We aim to provide gamers with the best tools to track their cognitive changes, compare their performance to others, and to identify the games and training regimens that are best for reaching their objectives.

Further Reading:

Bavelier D, Green CS, Pouget A, Schrater P (2012) Brain plasticity through the life span: Learning to learn and action video games. Neuroscience 35: 391–416. doi: 10.1146/annurev-neuro-060909-152832

Feng J, Spence I, Pratt J (2007) Playing an action game reduces gender differences in spatial cognition. Psychological Science 18: 850–855. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2007.01990.x

Glass, B.D., Maddox, W.T., & Love, B.C. (2013). Real-Time Strategy Game Training: Emergence of a Cognitive Flexibility Trait. PLOS ONE, 8(8), e70350.

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By joining PlayIQ, you also contribute to science by helping to advance our understanding of how experiences shape the brain.

Get and Track your Gaming IQ

Track your Perception, Learning, and Attention abilities over time through your PlayIQ. Learn how your abilities relate to your gaming habits and other factors.

Compare and Improve

Find out where you rank compared to other gamers and what you can do to improve. Optionally, share your results with friends and others.

Find your Ideal Game

Get game recommendations based on your gaming habits and PlayIQ. Find the games that match your cognitive profile.