TED—basically Mensa gatherings for slightly cooler people—hosted a talk a few months back by gaming industry vet Gabe Zichermann, where he theorized gaming as being responsible for increasing IQ scores among children.

Zichermann specifically argued the general increase in intelligence over the years—to the tune of about 0.36 IQ points annually—to be the result of a societal rise in “fluid” (problem-solving) intelligence caused by gaming. Increasing fluid intelligence, he said, relies on seeking novelty, challenging oneself, thinking creatively, doing things the hard way, and networking—all elements of “very successful games.”

His claims also refute the conventional wisdom (read: ignorance) of gaming as harmful to attention spans. Instead, he suggested gamification—constant rewards for sustained participation—has shaped our attention skills differently and made the “real” world seem unfulfilling in comparison.

In other words, all those hours spent getting all of the stars in Angry Birds might’ve actually been time well spent. Well, probably not, but games like Heavy Rain sure make you think.

Watch Zichermann’s full presentation above.

[via Gamma Squad]