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Benjamin P Hughes, Kevin Weatherwax, Madison Moxley-Fuentes, Gurdikhia Kaur, Nicolas Davidenko, Leila Takayama; The influence of gaming frequency and viewing perspective on a remote robot operation task. Journal of Vision 2020;20(11):1706. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.11.1706.
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Frequent video game players (“gamers”) perform better on certain visuospatial tasks compared to non-gamers (Green & Bavelier, 2003). Furthermore, visuospatial ability has been associated with performance on teleoperation tasks, in which participants remotely operate robots or devices (Gomer & Pagano, 2006; Menchaca-Brandan, Liu, Oman, & Natapoff, 2007). The present study sought to further explore these associations by testing gamers’ and non-gamers’ performance in a teleoperation task where they drove a Beam robot through an obstacle course using two different input devices (Xbox controller and keyboard) under two different viewing perspectives (egocentric or allocentric). Participants (N = 60; 35 female, 25 male) were instructed to drive the robot through the course as fast as possible while hitting as few cones as possible. Each participant completed two laps in each of the four combinations of conditions (2 controllers X 2 perspectives), in a randomized order. Performance was operationalized by course completion time and number of cones hit. Two-way ANCOVAs found that gamers (reporting an average of 8hrs of weekly gameplay in a post-task survey) showed faster course completion times (F(1,57) = 5.65, p < .05, partial η2 = .09), but no difference in errors, compared to non-gamers (average of 1hr of weekly gameplay). Additionally, two-way ANCOVAs indicated an interaction between input device and viewing perspective (p < .05), such that when using the Xbox controller, participants were faster to complete the course under an egocentric perspective compared to an allocentric perspective. Moreover, male participants performed faster and made fewer errors than female participants, and only female participants showed an overall advantage of the egocentric perspective, consistent with previous research (Nowak, Murali, & Driscoll, 2015). These results add to a growing body of literature demonstrating an association between gaming and teleoperation skills, although the underpinnings of this association require further research.
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