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Playing Portal 2 Provides Some Interesting Benefits, According To Scientists

It's time to call your mom and tell her you were right: video games can make you smarter! Okay, maybe not all video games, but "Portal 2" definitely can. Not only does "Portal 2" have some interesting ties to the "Half-Life" universe, but a recent study from Florida State University has shown that "Portal 2" can improve the brain's cognitive skills, too. Even more impressive is the fact that "Portal 2" seemingly does a better job at this than a collection of games that make up the online program "Lumosity," a platform specifically designed to improve cognition. 

Conducted by Valerie J. Shute, Matthew Ventura, and Fengfeng Ke, the research aimed to show that more work can be done with computer software to amplify the human brain. The decision to pit "Portal 2" against "Lumosity" came to the team after one of its members explained that they felt as if the former had literally assisted their cognition skills. So, in an experiment with seventy-seven different volunteers, the two games were pitted against one another in a battle of wits.

Thinking With Portals

Those seventy-seven test subjects were divided into two groups: one that would play "Portal 2," and one that would play "Lumosity." Each participant would play their assigned game for a total of eight hours. However, before and after their playtime they were tasked with completing standardized tests that would measure their persistence, problem solving, and spatial skills. The results of comparing those tests produced the surprising result that those who played "Portal 2" had a "statistical advantage" over those that tried "Lumosity."

The researchers were sure to acknowledge that their sample size was too small to conclusively determine that "Portal 2" was better at improving cognitive functions, but this just opens the door for further research. Of course, that's to be assumed of almost any small research study, but it's impressive that not a single one of the results showed an example of "Lumosity" being more effective than the beloved "Portal 2." The game that's so beloved, in fact, that even this portal writer wants a sequel. Will we ever see a "Portal 3?" Considering Valve's dislike for third installments, it's not currently looking likely.