Prof and grad student talk video games and brains at Ontario Science Centre

How do video games change brains? Professor Lauren Sergio and graduate student Joshua Granek will talk about their research on skill, coordination and brain changes in expert video gamers at the Ontario Science Centre’s Sci Fri event.

Sergio and Granek are two of five speakers presenting on the topic, “Are Games More Important Than We Think”, Friday, April 5, LaurenSergiofrom 6 to 9pm, at the Ontario Science Centre, Weston Family Innovation Centre, Level 6, Don Mills & Eglinton, Toronto. The youth-organized event is free for youth ages 14 to 19.

Lauren Sergio

A professor in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science in the Faculty of Health, Sergio and Granek, a PhD student studying the neuroscience of movement control, will discuss how they test brain function for skill and investigate the effect of brain damage on skills that are important for playing games, video or otherwise.

They look at how damage to the brain affects behavior and the ability to think and move at the same time, as required by sports and video games. A few participants at Sci Fri will have the opportunity to try some of the tasks the pair uses in their research including a task Sergio uses to test eye-hand coordination in NHL draft prospects every year.

In their research, Sergio and Granek also examine the effects of age, sex, neurological disease, head injury and experience (elite versus non-elite athletes) on the brain’s control of complex movement.

Also, during the upcoming SciFri, University of Toronto post-doctoral Jing Feng will present on the topic, “Play Changes the Brain”. Alex Jansen will present Pipe Trouble, an over-the-top satire video game that explores ongoing real world issues related to the exploitation of natural gas that was developed in collaboration with Six Island Productions and TVO. Jaime Woo, co-founder of Gamercamp, will chat about using games for personal expression, now that people can make games to tell their stories just as many do through song, purpose, or photography.