News / Health

Study: Video Games Might Help People with Dyslexia

FILE - Show attendees play video games on the PlayStation 4 at the Sony booth during the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, June 13, 2013.
FILE - Show attendees play video games on the PlayStation 4 at the Sony booth during the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, June 13, 2013.
Jessica Berman
Research suggests that action video games might help people with dyslexia,  a learning disorder that makes it difficult for some to read fluidly and comprehend what they read.  

Experts say an estimated five to 10 percent of the population suffers from dyslexia, in which they write or perceive printed words and letters as backwards or transposed.

In addition, people with dyslexia appear to have trouble managing competing sensory cues -- that is, they have difficulty shifting their focus quickly from visual to auditory stimuli, according to Vanessa Harrar of Britain’s University of Oxford.

“So, if you are trying to read something and then trying to listen to somebody who’s reading aloud and you’re trying to follow along with what they are reading -- they have to switch their attention from hearing what they are saying to looking at the piece of paper and back again," she said. "And so we found they have quite sluggish shifting of attention across the senses.”

There is a growing body of research that people with dyslexia have trouble in a part of the brain that is involved in integration of the senses, including visual and auditory stimuli.

Harrar, who herself suffers from dyslexia, led a study in which participants were asked to push a button as quickly as possible when they heard a sound, saw a dim flash or experienced both together.  The speed of the reactions was recorded and analyzed.

While everyone was fastest when the same type of stimuli repeated itself, the data showed that dyslexics were slower than normal shifting their attention from a flash of light to a sound.  The results of the study were published in the journal Current Biology.

Investigators say the finding, while preliminary, suggests that training programs to help people with dyslexia should take sluggish sensory response into account.

Harrar says that playing action video games could be helpful.

“Video game types of things pop out of here and there, they move your eyes around the screen quite quickly in response to things quite quickly, and the more you play a video game the faster you get that kind of thing," she said. "So, the video game is really training the attention system to move quickly.”

Because there are a variety of symptoms associated with dyslexia and no two people are alike, Harrar says her long-term goal is to tailor individual strategies to help people with the disorder.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid