Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates “Video Games Will Make Us Smarter” in NYC and Online, May 10 | Shore Fire Media

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13 April, 2017Print

Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates “Video Games Will Make Us Smarter” in NYC and Online, May 10

Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates "Video Games Will Make Us Smarter" in NYC and Online, May 10

Last year, the video game industry generated over $91 billion in revenue worldwide - more than double the film industry ($38 billion). There's no disputing that video games are a major source of entertainment, but the question remains: are they good for us? Some argue that video games can aid in cognitive development and improve players' ability to solve real-world problems. Others counter that games encourage anti-social behavior and can create unhealthy and dangerous addictions. On Wednesday, May 10, the "fantastic" (The New Yorker) Intelligence Squared U.S. continues its tenth full year of debates with a debate on the motion "Video Games Will Make Us Smarter."


Debating in support of the motion are Professor Daphne Bavelier, an internationally-recognized expert on how humans learn, and video game industry veteran Asi Burak, CEO of Power Play. Debating against the motion are psychiatrist Elias Aboujaoude, who specializes in obsessive compulsive disorder and behavioral addictions, and Professor Walter R. Boot, who has published extensively on the topic of technology-based interventions involving digital games


The debate will be held at NYC's Kaufman Center and stream live online, then air soon after as part of the syndicated public radio show and podcast "Intelligence Squared U.S." On May 10, online viewers can tune in at IQ2US's website ( ).


WHAT: Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates "Video Games Are Making Us Smarter"

WHEN: Wednesday, May 10, 2017 / Reception 5:45-6:30 / Debate 6:45-8:30 PM

WHERE: Kaufman Center/129 W. 67th Street (bet. Broadway and Amsterdam)/New York, NY 10023

TICKETS: $40 ($12 for students w/ ID). To purchase, visit


Arguing for the motion:

* Daphne Bavelier: Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Geneva & Co-Founding Advisor, Akili Interactive 

Daphne Bavelier is an internationally-recognized expert on how humans learn. She received a PhD in brain and cognitive sciences from MIT and trained in human brain plasticity at the Salk Institute. She now directs a cognitive neuroscience research team at the University of Geneva, Switzerland and is a co-founding advisor to Akili Interactive, a company which develops clinically-validated cognitive therapeutics that exploit high-quality video games. Her 2012 TED Talk “Your Brain on Games” explored how fast-paced video games affect the brain.

* Asi Burak: Chairman, Games for Change & CEO, Power Play 

Asi Burak is a veteran of the videogame and tech industries, and an award-winning executive producer. He is currently the CEO of Power Play and chairman of the influential industry organization Games for Change (G4C). In 2011, Burak was named one of the "Digital 25: Leaders in Emerging Entertainment" by the Producers Guild of America and Variety Magazine. He has served as a strategic advisor to organizations like EON Productions (producer of the James Bond films), the Tribeca Film Festival, Newsweek, and McCann Erickson, helping guide the strategic use of interactive and gaming. 


Arguing against the motion:

* Elias Aboujaoude: Director, Stanford University OCD and Impulse Control Disorders Clinics & Author, Virtually You 

Elias Aboujaoude MD, MA, is a psychiatrist and author based at the Stanford University School of Medicine, where he is clinical professor of Psychiatry and director of the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Clinic and the Impulse Control Disorders Clinic. His research interest has focused on obsessive compulsive disorder and behavioral addictions, including problematic internet use. His books include Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality and Compulsive Acts: A Psychiatrist's Tales of Ritual and Obsession. 

* Walter R. Boot: Director, Florida State University Attention and Training Lab 

Walter R. Boot is an associate professor of psychology at Florida State University and director of the university’s Attention and Training Lab. His research interests include how humans perform and learn to master complex tasks (especially tasks with safety-critical consequences), how age influences perceptual and cognitive abilities vital to the performance of these tasks, and how technological interventions can improve the well-being and cognitive functioning of older adults. Boot has published extensively on the topic of technology-based interventions involving digital games.



A non-partisan, nonprofit organization, Intelligence Squared U.S. was founded in 2006 to restore civility, reasoned analysis and constructive public discourse to today’s often biased media landscape. The award-winning debate series reaches over 30 million American households through multi-platform distribution, including radio, television, live streaming, podcasts, interactive digital content, and on-demand apps on Roku and Apple TV. With over 130 debates and counting, Intelligence Squared U.S. has encouraged the public to "think twice" on a wide range of provocative topics. Author and ABC News correspondent John Donvan has moderated IQ2US since 2008. 

For more information on Intelligence Squared U.S., please contact Ray Padgett ( or Mark Satlof ( at Shore Fire Media.