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Renjie Li, Uri Polat, Walt Makous, Daphne Bavelier; Temporal resolution of visual processing in action video game players. Journal of Vision 2006;6(6):1008. doi: 10.1167/6.6.1008.
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Video game playing alters several visual skills and, in particular, leads to faster recovery of visual attention over time. Here, we investigate whether action video game playing changes the temporal resolution of visual processing.
The effects of action video game playing on the temporal characteristics of visual processing were first tested by comparing gamers and non-gamers in a forward and backward masking paradigm (SOAs = ±120ms, ±90ms, and 0ms). The stimuli and design were similar to those of Polat & Sagi (in press) and consisted of a foveally-viewed Gabor patch target, which was either alone or masked collinearly by two flanking Gabor patches. The threshold contrast of the target was measured by a 2-alternative forced-choice (2AFC) staircase. Video game players showed reduced masking, especially backward masking; that is, gamers extracted visual information more readily than non-gamers.
Critical flicker fusion thresholds (cff) were then compared between gamers and non gamers to assess whether this temporal advantage extends to other, low level visual functions. Cff for a circular 1° spot within a 2° steady surround, both at a mean luminance of 70 cd/m2, were measured with square wave flicker and a 2AFC staircase. That cffs for gamers were reliably higher than for non-gamers suggests differences in temporal resolution at a low level in the visual pathway. These results establish that the visual processing of avid action video game players has different temporal characteristics, but whether action game playing causes such a change remains to be determined.
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