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A.F. Anderson, D. Bavelier, C.S. Green; Speed-accuracy tradeoffs in cognitive tasks in action game players. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):748. doi: 10.1167/10.7.748.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Three speeded-choice reaction time tasks were used to assess different cognitive functions in action gamers: (i) Proactive Interference, which measures the ability to suppress familiar but irrelevant information in memory, (ii) The Posner Ab task, which measures the speed with which information is retrieved from long term memory and (iii) an N-back task, which measures working memory efficiency.
Action video game players (VGPs) displayed faster reaction times (RTs) than individuals who do not play fast paced video games (NVGPs). Such a difference in baseline RTs is known to complicate evaluation of cognitive effects across populations. Indeed, cognitive effects are typically defined in terms of differences between conditions, and it is unlikely that a 100ms difference between two conditions has a similar meaning given a baseline RT of 800ms versus a baseline RTs of 400ms (see Madden, Pierce, and Allen, 1996 for an extensive discussion of this problem). In addition, faster RTs in VGPs were accompanied, at times, by a small but significant decrease in accuracy preventing any straight-forward interpretation of the cognitive effects.
We present two different ways of analyzing the data that have been proposed in the field to address this issue. When applying such corrections, VGPs and NVGPs displayed comparable cognitive effects. The outcome of such between-groups study is weakened however by the use of paradigms in which accuracy is fixed and typically near ceiling. We present a new cognitive decision making task that allows to sample the full chronometric and psychometric curve. VGPs presented a very clear speed-accuracy tradeoff, but overall were found to perform more correct decisions per units of time.
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