Study: Gamers read, study less but still socialize

The latest scientific study of gamers is kind of a wash for the image of our favorite hobby. On the plus side, adolescents who play games were shown to spend just as much time socializing with family and friends as non-gamers. On the downside, adolescent gamers were found to spend less time reading and doing homework than non-gamers.

The University of Michigan study asked nearly 1,500 10- to 19-year-olds across the country to report how they spent their time during the 2002-03 school year. The roughly 36 percent of the sample that played games spent 30 percent less time reading and 34 percent less time doing homework than their non-gaming peers. Interestingly, the reading deficit came mostly from male gamers while the homework deficit was caused mostly by female gamers, according to a Reuters story on the study. It's not all bad news though; the study also concluded that "gamers and nongamers did not differ in the amount of time they spent interacting with family and friends."

Before you go off believing that gamers are more likely to be lazy ignoramuses, understand that reading and homework time are not direct measures of intelligence. The study author herself admitted to Reuters that "there have been some studies that show that high academic achievers spend less time doing homework." In other words, perhaps gamers have just been trained to work smarter, not harder.