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C. Shawn Green, Daphne Bavelier; Effects of video game playing on visual processing across space. Journal of Vision 2005;5(8):1064. doi: 10.1167/5.8.1064.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Using several different measures of the spatial characteristics of visual attention, we show that video game play enhances attentional resources over space, and test the hypothesis that it may do so by increasing the spatial resolution of vision. We first used the flanker compatibility effect to establish that video game players have increased visuo-spatial attention, and to confirm that this increase is not only observed at peripheral locations but also in central vision. To unambiguously establish the facilitatory effects of video game play on the deployment of attention over space, we used a visual search task (Useful Field of View task - Ball et al, 1988), which requires participants to localize a briefly presented target amongst a field of distractors while performing a challenging central task. VGPs far outperformed NVGPs on all aspects of this test, further supporting the hypothesis of an enhancement in visual attention over the whole field in VGPs. Finally, we investigate the possibility that such improvements in visuo-spatial attention may be explained, at least in part, by an increase in the spatial resolution of vision, or more exactly the spatial analysis of a target in the context of nearby pattern elements. It is well known that recognition is impaired when a to-be-recognized target is flanked with distractor shapes. This phenomenon, termed crowding, is believed to be at the root of our ability to identify objects in cluttered scenes. Using a procedure similar to Toet & Levi (1992) we measured the distance between target and distractor that resulted in 79% correct target discrimination. VGPs showed a decrease in this critical distance, establishing an enhancement of visuo-spatial resolution. Critically, in both the UFOV and crowding paradigms, similar effects were observed in NVGPs that were specifically trained on an action video game, thus establishing a causative relationship between video game play and augmented visuo-spatial abilities.
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