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Joseph Chisholm, Clayton Hickey, Jan Theeuwes, Alan Kingstone; Video game playing improves recovery from attentional capture. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):111. doi: 10.1167/9.8.111.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Recent studies indicate that playing video games improves performance on attention tasks by enhancing top-down control over visual attention. However, whether this increase in top-down control can modulate the effects of bottom-up attentional processes is unknown. To examine this issue, video game players and non-video game players performed an attention capture task. Participants made a speeded response to the orientation of a line segment within a unique target shape, and on half the trials a distracting task-irrelevant color singleton was presented. Results show that video game players' performance was equal to non-video game players when a target appeared in isolation, indicating that both groups are equally vulnerable to capture by the target. However, video game players responded more quickly than non-video game players when a distractor was present, indicating that video game players are better able to recover from the interfering effects of task-irrelevant distraction. That this benefit is due to video game playing was reinforced by a significant negative correlation between time playing video games and the magnitude of the capture effect. When these data are coupled with the findings of previous studies, the collective evidence indicates that video game playing enhances top-down attentional control which in turn can modulate the negative effects of bottom-up attentional capture.
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