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Aaron Berard, Matthew Cain, Takeo Watanabe, Yuka Sasaki; Do video game players resist interference with perceptual learning by training on a new task?. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):559. doi: 10.1167/13.9.559.
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Long-term exposure to certain types of video games can influence a wide range of mental processes, from visual acuity to cognitive control (e.g., Cain, Landau, & Shimamura, 2012, Green & Bavelier, 2003). Video game players have also displayed generalized improvements in perceptual learning (Green, Li, & Bavelier, 2010). We investigated whether perceptual learning advantages in heavy action video gamers, compared to non-players, included resistance to interference caused by changes in stimulus properties. In the classic texture discrimination task (TDT, Karni & Sagi, 1991), participants report the orientation of an array of oblique lines embedded in a field of all vertical or all horizontal lines and demonstrate robust over-night improvement. However, changing the background line orientation midway through TDT training with no interval between the changes interferes with overnight improvements in performance on TDT with both background orientations (Yotsumoto, Chang, Watanabe, & Sasaki, 2009). Interestingly, no interference occurred with a one-hour interval between the changes. These results have suggested that after training is over, it takes some time for the learning to be stabilized and resilient against interference. Here, we examined the effect of daily video game playing on interference of training of TDT with one background orientation on perceptual learning of TDT with a different background orientation. As a result, we found that non-gamers showed no overnight performance improvements, replicating previous results with the interference TDT. In contrast, action video game players demonstrated overnight improvements in performance with both background orientations, suggesting that they are better able to overcome interference in perceptual learning. This resistance to proactive and retroactive interference suggests that video game playing not only enhances the amplitude and speed of perceptual learning but also leads to faster and/or more robust stabilization of perceptual learning.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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