Study reveals tDCS can help novice gamers rapidly boost esports skills

A new study from the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre for Software (Lero) has found that it only takes 10 minutes of training daily to increase a novice gamer's esports skills — something that benefits from a 20-minute pre-session involving transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS). As part of the research, participants were tasked with playing 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 able to make 'significant' improvements in their esports skills by training for 10 minutes per day. The best benefits, however, were found in cases where the participants first used a tDCS headset for 20 minutes before each training session.

The study involved tasking participants with eliminating opponents as fast and accurately as possible in CS:GO for each training session. Some of the participants first wore a tDCS headset, while others didn't receive the stimulation; another group was given a 'sham' stimulation treatment.

The results indicated that combining tDCS stimulation with training sessions 'significantly' improved the participants' performance when doing specific game tasks after five days when compared to the trainees who didn't receive the stimulation.

The use of tDCS while training may offer the best benefits in the early stages of learning a skill — and that may not be limited to just video games, 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.