Poster A7, Saturday, March 24, 1:30–3:30 pm, Exhibit Hall C
Little to no effects of action video games on visuospatial cognition: evidence from intervention and individual differences studies
Joseph Arizpe1,2, Anika Guha3,4, Amyeo Jereen3,5, Jeremy Wilmer3, Joe DeGutis1,2; 1Harvard Medical School, 2Boston Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 3Wellesley College, 4University of California Los Angeles, 5University of South Florida
Prior research suggests that playing recreational action video games appreciably improves various visuospatial abilities. However, there have been numerous objections to the quality of the evidence and recent attempts have failed to replicate action-video-game-related improvements in visuospatial abilities. To better ascertain the replicability of several seminal interventional and observational reports, we conducted two studies: (1) A video game training study assessing validated visuospatial measures, mental rotation (MR), multiple object tracking (MOT), and flicker change detection (FCD), before and after 12 hours of training, and (2) A massive online study (N=3000) investigating potential associations between self-reported action video game experience and MOT and FCD performance. Our training study was guided by a ‘clinical intervention’ approach in which participants (non-expert video gamers) and assessors were blinded, reducing the effect of participant/experimenter bias. We also compared action video game training (Medal of Honor) to two active control training video games (World of Goo and Wii Sports) as well as a test/retest control. Post-experiment questionnaires confirmed our success at blinding. Our results failed to replicate the previous action-video-game-related visuospatial improvements, showing no significant differences between any of the training conditions and test-retest for MR, MOT, or FCD. Our online observational study complemented these findings, showing only a small association between reported video game experience and FCD ability, though it was appreciably smaller in magnitude than in a prior report. Together, these findings suggest that short-term video game training does not improve visuospatial abilities and that long-term training produces a modest improvement at best.
Topic Area: ATTENTION: Spatial