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Angeliki Beyko, Cary Stothart, Walter Boot; Exploring the Effects of Video Game Experience and Motivation on Visual Processing. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):7. doi: 10.1167/12.9.7.
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Although a number of studies find that video gamers far outperform non-gamers on measures of visual and attentional skill, Boot, Blakely, and Simons (2011) have argued that overt participant recruitment in which gamers know they are being selected for their game experience might induce demand characteristic responsible for superior gamer performance. We used two approaches to explore this issue. First, we recruited gamers and non-gamers (N = 51) covertly and had them perform a search task based on the Useful Field of View task. When gamers had no reason to suspect they were in a study of gamers, gamer and non-gamer performance was equivalent. Hours of experience was not correlated with search accuracy (r = -11, p = .46). Comparing the 10 most experienced action gamers to the 10 individuals with the least game experience revealed no gamer advantage (F(1,18) = 1.35, p = .26, ηp2 = .07). We hypothesized that overt recruitment might motivate gamers to perform well. In a second study using the same search task we manipulated motivation directly. Participants completed one block of trials and then were either asked to try harder on the second block, or were asked to treat the second block of trials as if it were a task they normally found enjoyable. Compared to a control group that received no additional instructions between blocks, there was a significant performance improvement for the group asked to try harder (block x instruction interaction: F(1,24) = 6.20, p <. 05, ηp2 = .21). A similar trend was observed for the group asked to perceive the task as similar to a task they enjoyed (F(1,23) = 3.31, p = .08, ηp2 = .13). Results highlight the potentially important role of motivation and demand characteristics in studies of gamers.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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