August 2012
Volume 12, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2012
Video game training improves visual cognition: a multiple game study
Author Affiliations
  • Adam Oei
    Division of Psychology, Nanyang Technological University
  • Michael Patterson
    Division of Psychology, Nanyang Technological University
Journal of Vision August 2012, Vol.12, 689. doi:10.1167/12.9.689
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      Adam Oei, Michael Patterson; Video game training improves visual cognition: a multiple game study. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):689. doi: 10.1167/12.9.689.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Although recent research indicates action video game playing can improve performance on visual cognitive tasks, results using other video games have been equivocal. We compared visual cognitive performance on five groups before and after 20-hours of training using either action video games or four games with varying visual demands: hidden object, match-3, Sims, or spatial memory games. The test battery included tasks measuring attentional blink, complex verbal span, a visual short term memory task, and a visual search and spatial working memory dual task. These tasks contain cognitive demands that are both similar and dissimilar with the video games to determine near and far transfer effects respectively. We expected that participants would demonstrate near transfer far more commonly than far transfer. Participants trained using mobile gaming platforms with much smaller screen sizes than desktop-computer screens used in previous studies. The results replicated previous findings, showing that action games improved visual working memory capacity, filtering of distractors, and eliminated attentional blink. For other games, near transfer effects for the match-3, hidden-object and spatial memory groups were demonstrated by improved visual search scores. Further, the hidden-object game training significantly improved spatial working memory. For far transfer, action, match-3 and Sims game groups significantly improved in complex verbal span performance. These far transfer improvements may be due to planning and strategizing elements within these games that may lead to improvements to higher-order executive processes. Our results demonstrate that playing visually and cognitively demanding videogames can lead to lead to both selective, and more widespread changes in cognition, but the specific improvements depend on the type of behavior that is trained by the videogame. Training tasks that place demands on higher-order cognition may be important for far transfer to occur.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012


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