Keep in mind, the researchers noted that not all video games helped with motor skills behind the wheel.

Just about everyone reading this story is familiar with the Mario Kart series of racing video games from Nintendo. What many of you may not know, though, is that playing Mario Kart for even a few hours a week can noticeably help your real-world driving ability, according to a new study published in the Psychological Science journal.

The authors of the study - who are from both the New York University Shanghai and University of Hong Kong - created specific driving simulation tests to research their theory. Although you have to sift through some science-y language to get to the findings, the short answer is that those who play "accessible action video games" such as Mario Kart, or first-person shooters like Unreal Tournament, performed better in the simulations.

One of the simulations had participants steering a virtual vehicle down a road. They were tasked with staying as close to the centre of the lane as possible. According to the study, the experienced gamers showed "much greater precision" and better ability keeping their vehicle centred.

Keep in mind, the researchers noted that not all video games helped with motor skills while driving. Some participants played Roller Coaster Tycoon, which is a strategy game, but were found to have "no improvement over time."

The authors of the study considered "experienced" players as those who played action video games for at least five hours per week for the last six months.

So there you have it - a perfect, science-backed excuse to fire up your Wii U or PlayStation 4 and start playing the latest Mario Kart or even a Call of Duty game. Just make sure you're not driving and playing a game simultaneously, because that's a recipe for disaster.

Source: Psychological Science

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