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Lily Tsoi, Sarah Koopman, Jeremy Wilmer; Video-game training improves smooth pursuit precision. Journal of Vision 2011;11(11):527. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/11.11.527.
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We recently identified large individual differences in the precision of smooth pursuit eye movements (Wilmer and Nakayama, 2007), raising the question of where these differences come from and whether they can be modified through experience. Video-game playing has been shown to improve the temporal and spatial precision of attentional mechanisms (Green and Bavelier, 2003) that could contribute to pursuit precision. We therefore examined the effects of video-game training on smooth pursuit precision by training 41 participants in one of three video games for one hour a day for 7 days. We chose three video games that involved different aspects of cognition: 1) Pong, a simple sports video game involving smooth pursuit, 2) World of Padman, a first-person-shooter action game similar to those used in previous video-game training studies, and 3) World of Goo, a strategy/puzzle game that acted as a control for general game-playing effects. Results show that after Pong training, there was a significant increase in precision after the initial catch-up saccade that lasted for 200 ms, whereas for the first-person shooter game, a smaller but still significant increase in precision occurred 100–200 ms after the initial catch-up saccade. No significant increase in pursuit precision was found after training in the control game. Our results indicate that training in certain video games can improve smooth pursuit precision. The benefits of video-game playing are therefore not isolated to visual perception and attention, but extend to at least one visuomotor ability.
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