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Stephen Mitroff, Kerry Jordan; Videogame players demonstrate enhanced multi-sensory abilities. Journal of Vision 2008;8(6):1059. doi: 10.1167/8.6.1059.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Videogame experiences have been found to influence attention and perception, increasing accuracy and reducing response times. While effects to date have focused on visual processing, experience with action videogames requires a sophisticated blend of visual, auditory, and tactile integration. Whether videogame playing affects perception more globally, in senses other than vision, remains unknown. Here we show that, in contrast to non-videogame-players (NVGPs), videogame-players (VGPs) exhibit enhanced abilities to match what they hear to what they see. Videogame playing status was assessed via a post-experiment questionnaire. On each trial, participants heard a sample sequence of tones played too rapidly to count. Subsequently, they were instructed to choose the numerical match from two simultaneous arrays of visual elements (one choice always matched the sample). Numerical values were large numbers with 26 possible ratios of correct numerical choice to incorrect numerical choice. Participants thus experienced a range of easy to difficult trials, from the easiest ratio of .2 (e.g., 10 vs. 50) to the most difficult ratio of .9 (e.g., 45 vs. 50). For the easier ratios, VGPs were more accurate than NVGPs (93.0% vs. 82.8%) and faster (1101ms vs. 1269ms). For the difficult ratios, VGPs were more accurate (66.0% vs. 55.6%) but slower (1554ms vs. 1349ms). VGPs demonstrated a strong relationship between difficulty and response time (R2=.793), while NVGPs responded with equal speed regardless of trial difficulty (R2=.025). For easy numerical comparisons, VGPs' enhanced abilities likely stem from a perceptual or response-based advantage; they were more accurate and faster. However, the VGPs' superior accuracy for difficult comparisons likely arises from a metacognitive benefit; VGPs slowed their responding to achieve higher accuracy. VGPs appeared more motivated to perform this estimation task and adjusted their time-on-task based upon decision difficulty. Thus, videogame play is associated with both enhanced attentional and metacognitive multisensory processing.
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