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Ruyuan Zhang, Shawn Green, Zhonglin Lu, Daphne Bavelier; Speeding up Learning: Action Video Games and Perceptual Learning. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):1089. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/13.9.1089.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Playing action video games induces improvements in a variety of perceptual and attentional tasks. Here, we investigated possible mechanisms underlying these improvements. One possibility is that action video game experience conveys upon the users an increase in general visual sensitivity. Such a view predicts that the action video game player (VGP) advantage is not dependent on experience with each new task, but will instead be present on the very first trial. Conversely, action video game experience may result in an increased ability to learn task-relevant statistics. This "learning to learn" view predicts reasonably equivalent performance between groups early on in a perceptual learning paradigm, with the VGP advantage appearing and then increasing through experience with the task. To test these hypotheses, VGPs and non-action video game players (NVGPs) performed a peripheral Gabor orientation identification task in high Gaussian external noise. Consistent with the learning to learn hypothesis VGP and NVGP performance was similar in the earliest trials, but as the task proceeded, VGP performance improved faster than NVGP performance. To further understand the source of this faster learning, two randomly assigned groups of low gamers were trained in the essentially the same orientation identification task. The only difference was that in this experiment, the orientation task was embedded within the context of a video game. In one group the game was an action video game, while for the other it was a non-action game. Consistent with the results of the first experiment, perceptual learning was observed to proceed at a faster pace when embedded in an action game. Together, these results indicate that those individuals who regularly play action video games learn faster in new tasks, and that the very act of learning in the context of an action game speeds up learning as compared to other games.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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