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Study reveals tDCS can help novice gamers rapidly boost esports skills

A new study by the Science Foundation Ireland Research Center for Software (Lero) found that it takes just 10 minutes of daily training to boost a beginner player’s sports skills – something that benefits from a 20-minute pre-session involving transcranial stimulation by direct current (tDCS). As part of the research, participants were asked to play Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

The new research comes from the Esports Science Research Lab (ESRL) at the University of Limerick, where researchers found that novice games are capable of making “significant” improvements in their e-sports skills by training 10 minutes a day. The best benefits, however, were found in cases where participants used a tDCS headset for the first time for 20 minutes before each training session.

The study involved participants with the task of eliminating opponents as quickly and accurately as possible in CS: GO for each training session. Some of the participants first used a tDCS headset, while others did not receive the stimulus; another group received a ‘sham’ stimulation treatment.

The results indicated that the combination of tDCS stimulation with training sessions “significantly” improved the participants’ performance when performing specific game tasks after five days, compared to trainees who did not receive the stimulus.

The use of tDCS during training can offer the best benefits in the early stages of learning a skill – and this may not be limited to video games only, the researchers note. Someone who has suffered a stroke may benefit from using a tDCS headset before physical therapy to improve their rehabilitation effort, for example.

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