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Alyssa Hess, Mark Neider; We aren't playing: No performance benefit for expert gamers in visual search for camouflaged targets. Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):418. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/16.12.418.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Is there an advantage for video game players (VGPs) over non-video game players (NVGPs) in attention and visual tasks? Research has sought to pit VGPs, or those trained on video games, against NVGPs in a growing number of cognitive and perceptual tasks. Yet, the literature remains divided over whether or not this advantage exists. Here, we compared search performance on a real-world visual search task for camouflaged targets between professional, nationally ranked VGPs (all from the fighting game genre) and NVGPs. We used eye tracking to characterize oculomotor behavior so that we could explore potential search strategy variations between VGPs and NVGPs. While it has been argued that VGPs can extract more visual information than NVGPs per fixation (which would predict similar patterns of eye movements between VGPs and NVGPs) (Dye et. al, 2009; Green & Bavelier, 2006), other findings suggest that VGPs instead employ search strategies that are different from NVGPs (Clark, Fleck & Mitroff, 2011). We found no differences in accuracy or reaction time (RT) between groups (in omnibus ANOVAs, all p > .40). However, we did find that the VGPs fixated more often and for shorter durations than NVGPs (all ps < .05). These differences in oculomotor measures suggest that while VGPs and NVGPs perform similarly in terms of overall aggregate performance measures in search for camouflaged targets, the manner in which they conduct their searches varies. Furthermore, we speculate that these oculomotor strategy differences might very well induce broader performance differences in easier, more traditional search tasks (Wu & Spence, 2013), and perhaps in other tasks that require selective attention (e.g., flanker task, enumeration, attentional blink) with which others have reported VGP advantages (Green & Bavelier, 2003).
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016
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