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Alyssa Hess, Mark Neider; It’s in the game: Exploring Cognitive Differences between Professional Gamers and Novices. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):1334. doi: 10.1167/15.12.1334.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Is playing video games associated with increased cognitive and perceptual capabilities? Recent research aimed at answering this question has produced highly contested results on both ends of the spectrum. While some argue that cognitive abilities, such as working memory and attention, vary between video game experts and novices, others have had difficulty replicating the finding. One possibility as to why findings have been so variable might be related to the difficulty associated with defining exactly what constitutes video game players of various proficiencies. For example, does training someone for 50 hours on a particular game necessarily create an expert at that game? To address this, we conducted a study comparing novice video game players (NGPs) to competitive, professionally ranked fighting game players (FGPs), a distinction intended to compare game players on the most extreme ends of the expertise spectrum. NGPs and FGPs engaged in a broad ranging cognitive task battery. Interestingly, FGPs performed better than NGPs on a number of measures, including Useful Field of View (with FGPs ~223 ms faster and 9% more accurate than NGPs), Attentional Blink (with FGPs ~312 ms faster and 11% more accurate than NGPs), Mental Rotation (with FGPs ~1s faster than NGPs), Wisconsin Card Sorting (~3.8 more perseverative errors on average in NGPs) and Dual n-back (FGPs outscored the NGPs by >10% at all n-back levels).There were no differences found on other measures that have previously been shown to be sensitive to videogame play, including Visual Search, Flanker task, and Enumeration. These results suggest that, while many previous findings indicating differences between expert gamers and novices do extend to comparisons of gamers from extreme ends of the videogame expertise continuum, other measures do not. These data may be indicative of the distinction between playing games often and playing them well.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015
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