Prof. Daphné Bavelier

University of Geneva
Your brains on action video game

Action video game players outperform their non-action-game playing peers on various sensory, attentional and cognitive tasks. A training regimen whose benefits are so broad is rather unprecedented and provides a unique opportunity to identify factors that underlie learning and principles of brain plasticity. Practical applications from education to rehabilitation will be discussed.


Daphne Bavelier is an internationally-recognized expert on how humans learn. In particular, she studies how the brain adapts to changes in experience, either by nature – for example, deafness – or by training – for example, playing video games. Her lab established that playing fast-paced, action-packed entertainment video games typically thought to be mind-numbing actually benefits several aspects of behavior. Exploiting this counter-intuitive finding, the Cognitive Neuroscience research team she now heads at the University of Geneva, Switzerland investigates how new media, such as video games, can be leveraged to foster learning and brain plasticity.
Bavelier is a co-founding scientific advisor of Akili Interactive, a company which develops clinically-validated cognitive therapeutics that exploit video games, and has contributed as an expert for the World Economic Forum in domains as varied as Education (New Vision for Education: Unlocking the potential of technology) or Human Enhancement (World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Human Enhancement).
Her scientific contribution has been recognized by several prizes over the years, including the John Merck Scholar Award (2000-2004), a finalist selection for the Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientist (2008), and more recently being the recipient of the 2019 Klaus J. Jacobs Awards, that honors outstanding research with social impact on children and youth with a one million Swiss Francs endowment.

Daphné Bavelier is a French cognitive neuroscientist who specialized in brain plasticity and learning. She is a full Professor at the University of Geneva in the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences.

Personal website