Becoming a gamer : cognitive effects of real-time strategy gaming


Becoming a gamer : cognitive effects of real-time strategy gaming

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Title: Becoming a gamer : cognitive effects of real-time strategy gaming
Author: Glass, Brian Daniel, 1981-
Abstract: Video gaming has become a major pastime in modern life, and it continues to accelerate in popularity. A recent wave of psychological research has demonstrated that core perceptual changes coincide with video game play. Video games incorporate highly complex and immersive experiences which invoke a range of psychological mechanisms. This complexity has led to intractability which precludes determining which specific attributes of video gaming lead to cognitive change. The current work represents a research initiative which uses real-time strategy (RTS) games to boost executive functioning. In order to establish a link between video game features, video game behavior, and cognitive changes, an attention-switching tests two different forms of the same RTS game. Additionally, a difficulty titration paradigm attenuates individual differences in gaming skill. Thus, this project represents a critical advancement over prior research in that aspects of the video game itself were controlled and used to experimentally examine resulting cognitive change. Participants completed a psychological task battery before and after video game training, as well as at a mid-test. The battery covered a range of cognitive abilities including long-term memory, working memory, several attention-related constructs, risk taking, visual search, task switching and multitasking. These tasks were divided into two groups depending on the level of executive functioning components associated with the task performance. This resulted in a group of executive tasks and a group of other tasks. Because the high-switching gaming condition involves control and maintenance over a larger spread of gaming situations, performance on the executive task cluster was expected to improve more for this condition relative to the low-switching gaming condition. To reduce the impact of practice effects and the peripheral aspects of video gaming in interpreting the results, the Sims group was used a control baseline. A meta-analytical Bayes factor technique was used to determine the strength of performance changes from pre-test to mid-test, post-test, and follow up. By post-test, there was evidence that RTS training in the high attention-switching condition had improved on executive functioning tasks but not on other tasks. These results provide further evidence that video game training leads to psychological benefits over time.
Department: Psychology
Subject: Video games Attention Executive functioning Learning transfer
Date: 2012-05

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