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C. Shawn Green, Alexandre Pouget, Daphne Bavelier; Action videogame playing improves bayesian inference for perceptual decision-making. Journal of Vision 2007;7(9):42. doi: 10.1167/7.9.42.
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Perhaps the most striking and consistently observed performance change that occurs as a result of video game experience is a dramatic reduction in reaction time. This result holds across a wide range of visual tasks, with on average, action game experience resulting in a 15% reduction in reaction time. Importantly, this reduction occurs without a concomitant reduction in accuracy. We propose that this effect is due to improved Bayesian inference for perceptual decision-making in gamers.
To test this idea, we used a motion direction task in which subjects accumulate evidence over time about the direction of motion of many simultaneously moving dots with the goal of making the proper decision for that particular sensory stimulus. Typically in this task subjects take less time to decide the direction of motion and do so more accurately when all the dots move in the same direction (high coherence) than when some of the dots move in different directions (low coherence). Reaction time and accuracy can therefore be modeled as reflecting the quality of the information that is accumulated until the subject makes a decision and executes a motor response.
Using such a motion coherence paradigm in combination with models developed by Palmer et al. (2005) and Ma et al. (2006), we show that the performance improvement following action game playing can be captured by more efficient integration of the sensory information on which the decision is based, or in other words a more faithful Bayesian inference step, along with a reduction in decision criteria. The same approach, applied to an auditory localization task, demonstrates that this enhancement generalizes beyond the visual modality. Together, these results suggest that action video game playing results in better Bayesian inference for perceptual decision-making.
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