August 2014
Volume 14, Issue 10
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2014
No action video game training effects for flicker change detection
Author Affiliations
  • Amyeo Jereen
    Wellesley College
  • Anika Guha
    Wellesley College
  • Joseph DeGutis
    Boston VA
  • Jeremy Wilmer
    Wellesley College
Journal of Vision August 2014, Vol.14, 1335. doi:
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      Amyeo Jereen, Anika Guha, Joseph DeGutis, Jeremy Wilmer; No action video game training effects for flicker change detection. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):1335.

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

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The frustrating experience of a good flicker change detection (FCD) task beautifully demonstrates a cognitive capacity more limited than we feel it should be. Yet some individuals have a far greater capacity to notice such changes than others. What is the source of these differences, and can cognitive training enhance our FCD ability? A recent report of superior FCD performance in action video game players raises the possibility that playing such games may improve FCD ability (Clark, Fleck & Mitroff, 2011). We conducted a randomized, controlled trial (n=81, 12 hours of training) to see if action video game play would enhance FCD ability. Our game of interest was Medal of Honor (MOH), a first-person shooter used in many prior action video game training studies (e.g. Green & Bavelier, 2003). Our two control games were World of Goo (WOG, a strategy game) and Wii Sports (WS, a sports game), and we included a no-training control condition (NTC). To sensitively detect potential training-related improvements, we used a highly reliable FCD task (alpha=0.88). An extensive post-training questionnaire confirmed that participants were blind to our hypothesis. While all conditions improved significantly (p<0.01), improvement did not differ significantly between conditions (F(3,75)=0.76, p=0.52). Improvement in the MOH condition was numerically (though not significantly) lower than that of the WOG condition, suggesting no hint of a differential training effect for MOH. Furthermore, no single training condition improved significantly more than the NTC condition, strong evidence against even a non-specific improvement for all video games. In sum, action video game playing did not improve FCD ability in our study. These results, in combination with our prior finding of high heritability of FCD ability (Wilmer et al, 2012), suggest that FCD may be relatively impervious to environmental factors.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014


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