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Matthew S. Cain, Ayelet N. Landau, William Prinzmetal, Lynn C. Robertson, Arthur P. Shimamura; Attention processes in action video game players. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):237. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/9.8.237.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Action video games present players with complex visual environments and numerous visual and cognitive tasks to perform. Recent evidence has shown that action video game players (gamers) have improved attentional abilities compared to non-gamers. In a series of experiments we evaluated three aspects of attention and control in action video game players and non-gamers: a manual task switching paradigm investigated participants' ability to rapidly switch between a prepotent task and a novel one; an anti-cuing task assessed levels of control over voluntary and involuntary attention; and an illusory conjunction task provided an assessment of the speed and accuracy of conjoining shape and color to a location in space. When gamers were compared with non-gamers, they showed distinct advantages. Gamers had smaller task switching costs than non-gamers, indicating that they were able to disengage from irrelevant task processes more rapidly. The anti-cuing task revealed that gamers were faster at summoning voluntary attention and were better able to resist involuntary attention capture. Gamers also showed fewer illusory conjunctions than non-gamers, suggesting faster feature binding. Taken together, in the tasks reported here gamers seem to be more resistant to distraction, supporting an improvement in their ability to select the relevant information in their environment. In addition, the reduction in illusory conjunctions suggests that there is a general improvement in their speed of deployment of visual spatial attention.
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