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Gaming is related to enhanced working memory performance and task-related cortical activity

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Abstract

Gaming experience has been suggested to lead to performance enhancements in a wide variety of working memory tasks. Previous studies have, however, mostly focused on adult expert gamers and have not included measurements of both behavioral performance and brain activity. In the current study, 167 adolescents and young adults (aged 13–24 years) with different amounts of gaming experience performed an n-back working memory task with vowels, with the sensory modality of the vowel stream switching between audition and vision at random intervals. We studied the relationship between self-reported daily gaming activity, working memory (n-back) task performance and related brain activity measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The results revealed that the extent of daily gaming activity was related to enhancements in both performance accuracy and speed during the most demanding (2-back) level of the working memory task. This improved working memory performance was accompanied by enhanced recruitment of a fronto-parietal cortical network, especially the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. In contrast, during the less demanding (1-back) level of the task, gaming was associated with decreased activity in the same cortical regions. Our results suggest that a greater degree of daily gaming experience is associated with better working memory functioning and task difficulty-dependent modulation in fronto-parietal brain activity already in adolescence and even when non-expert gamers are studied. The direction of causality within this association cannot be inferred with certainty due to the correlational nature of the current study.

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... In terms of brain activity, the different executive tasks were expected to recruit regions in parietal cortical regions and in lateral and medial prefrontal regions, as demonstrated by our earlier work (Moisala et al., 2015(Moisala et al., , 2017. Functional connectivity between these frontoparietal nodes was expected to be similar irrespective of the specific demands of each task type, as the components of this "frontoparietal control system" (Vincent, Kahn, Snyder, Raichle, & Buckner, 2008) are coactive in a wide variety of task domains (Duncan, 2010;Fedorenko, Duncan, & Kanwisher, 2013) and are known to subserve a variety of executive functions (Niendam et al., 2012). ...
... The questionnaire included a Sociodigital Participation (SDP) inventory assessing various dimensions of technology-mediated practices in everyday life. Using a latent profile analysis (Vermunt & Magidson, 2002), all questionnaire respondents (each cohort separately) were first grouped into three profiles representing their SDP practices for the purpose of studying the effects of technology use on cognitive functioning (Moisala et al., 2016(Moisala et al., , 2017: basic participants (control), gaming-oriented participators, and creative participators. These SDP profiles were not utilized in the current study, as our aim was only to examine developmental effects on cognitive performance and brain activity. ...
... As a result, brain activity and performance of 173 participants were measured for the study, of which 167 had good data quality and no technical difficulties during fMRI measurement (Table 1). The same dataset was used in previously published studies linking technologically mediated activities to brain functioning, that is, media multitasking to increased distractibility and right prefrontal cortical activity (Moisala et al., 2016), and gaming to enhanced working memory performance and frontoparietal cortical recruitment (Moisala et al., 2017). All participants were native Finnish speakers with normal hearing, normal or corrected-to-normal vision, and no self-reported history of psychiatric or neurological illnesses. ...
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Background Adolescence is a time of ongoing neural maturation and cognitive development, especially regarding executive functions. In the current study, age‐related differences in the neural correlates of different executive functions were tracked by comparing three age groups consisting of adolescents and young adults. Methods Brain activity was measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) from 167 human participants (13‐ to 14‐year‐old middle adolescents, 16‐ to 17‐year‐old late adolescents and 20‐ to 24‐year‐old young adults; 80 female, 87 male) while they performed attention and working memory tasks. The tasks were designed to tap into four putative sub‐processes of executive function: division of attention, inhibition of distractors, working memory, and attention switching. Results Behaviorally, our results demonstrated superior task performance in older participants across all task types. When brain activity was examined, young adult participants demonstrated a greater degree of overlap between brain regions recruited by the different executive tasks than adolescent participants. Similarly, functional connectivity between frontoparietal cortical regions was less task specific in the young adult participants than in adolescent participants. Conclusions Together, these results demonstrate that the similarity between different executive processes in terms of both neural recruitment and functional connectivity increases with age from middle adolescence to early adulthood, possibly contributing to age‐related behavioral improvements in executive functioning. These developmental changes in brain recruitment may reflect a more homogenous morphological organization between process‐specific neural networks, increased reliance on a more domain‐general network involved in executive processing, or developmental changes in cognitive strategy.
... There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that video game playing has a positive effect on tasks that require top-down attention, allowing video game players to allocate attentional resources more flexibly [1][2][3]. These findings have been shown both when comparing experienced video game players with non-players [1,[3][4][5] and after a period of video game training [1,6,7], specifically for action or shooting video games, that require players to make predictions regarding future events [2,7]. Parallel studies in skilled athletes have shown that these individuals show both sport-specific and generalized cognitive enhancements [8][9][10], related to the extraction of environmental cues [11][12][13][14][15], compared with non-athletes. ...
... Parallel studies in skilled athletes have shown that these individuals show both sport-specific and generalized cognitive enhancements [8][9][10], related to the extraction of environmental cues [11][12][13][14][15], compared with non-athletes. Thus, overall there is evidence to suggest that extensive daily training of either video games or physical training, specifically those that require quick decision making, may induce cognitive enhancements [5,8]. However, the mechanisms underlying these enhancements remain elusive. ...
... In addition, we evaluated the event-related EEG functional connectivity across the groups, to investigate whether the differences across the groups are associated with processing task-relevant stimuli within top-down attentional networks. Functional connectivity studies in video game players have been performed primarily using fMRI, showing enhanced recruitment of top-down networks in video game players compared with non-players [5,6]. Enhanced connectivity has also been demonstrated in elite athletes compared with novices using fMRI [27,28] and EEG [29]. ...
Article
We investigated the effect of abstract and real life meaningful images from sports on predictive contextual processing in professional athletes and video gamers. EEG was recorded in three groups: professional basketball players (BP), professional athletes of individual sports (IA) and experienced action video game players (VG). Two recording sessions, each with a different set of visual stimuli was presented: either triangles facing left, up, right or down or four images of a basketball player throwing a ball. Recording blocks consisted of targets preceded by randomized sequences of standards and by sequences including a predictive sequence signaling the occurrence of a subsequent target event. The gradual increase of P3b amplitudes across the predictive sequence was greater in BP compared with VG, when stimuli consisted of real life images of a basketball player. For the basketball session, we observed increased local modularity and stronger functional connectivity within frontal attentional networks in BP and VG compared with IA, during the processing of the predictive sequence. Our findings suggest increased top-down attentional allocation, during the processing of predictive visual stimuli, in basketball players compared with video gamers and individual sports athletes.
... Earlier studies have demonstrated that playing video games can benefit cognition. Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies have demonstrated that the experience of video gaming is associated with better cognitive function, specifically in terms of visual attention and short-term memory [14], reaction time [15], and working memory [16]. Additionally, some randomized controlled studies show positive ...
... We excluded 121 articles: 46 were not MRI studies, 16 were not controlled studies, 38 were not intervention studies, 13 were review articles, and eight were miscellaneous, including study protocols, non-video gaming studies, and non-brain studies. Of 18 included scientific articles, nine were excluded. ...
Article
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Video gaming, the experience of playing electronic games, has shown several benefits for human health. Recently, numerous video gaming studies showed beneficial effects on cognition and the brain. A systematic review of video gaming has been published. However, the previous systematic review has several differences to this systematic review. This systematic review evaluates the beneficial effects of video gaming on neuroplasticity specifically on intervention studies. Literature research was conducted from randomized controlled trials in PubMed and Google Scholar published after 2000. A systematic review was written instead of a meta-analytic review because of variations among participants, video games, and outcomes. Nine scientific articles were eligible for the review. Overall, the eligible articles showed fair quality according to Delphi Criteria. Video gaming affects the brain structure and function depending on how the game is played. The game genres examined were 3D adventure, first-person shooting (FPS), puzzle, rhythm dance, and strategy. The total training durations were 16–90 h. Results of this systematic review demonstrated that video gaming can be beneficial to the brain. However, the beneficial effects vary among video game types.
... With regard to learning outcomes, digital engagement has been proposed to facilitate learning through social participation and expanding of resources by appropriation of new skills and building competencies (Barron, 2006;Chassiakos, Radesky, Christakis, Moreno, & Cross, 2016;Granic, Lobel, & Engels, 2014;Hakkarainen et al., 2000;Ito et al., 2010;Li et al., 2016;Moisala et al., 2016a). Therefore, socio-digital engagement was also considered to be an expression of connected learning (Ito et al., 2013;Kumpulainen & Sefton-Green, 2012), that is, learning extended across time, space, networks, and tools, situated in the reciprocal interactive processes between the learners and their social ecologies (Nardi & O'Day, 2000). ...
... On the other hand, socio-digital engagement and consequent connected learning can also be providing novel resources for students ) that support study activities and lead to higher study engagement and motivation in line with the motivational process; increased resources may spill over to higher motivation (Salmela-Aro & Upadyaya, 2014). For instance, the cognitive benefits derived from gaming (Moisala et al., 2016a) can function as resources if students are able to utilize them in schoolwork. Some students engage in digital participation to develop their interests (Barron, 2006), skills, and competencies by intensive and deep engagement (i.e., geeking out; Ito et al, 2010). ...
... Sendo os exergames atividades lúdicas, cujo objetivo é a promoção do exercício físico, podem por isso ajudar a promover o envelhecimento ativo (Parra, 2014). Estudos em idosos com exergames demonstraram que estes sentiram melhorias ao nível da memória e da capacidade de raciocínio (Basak, Boot, Voss, & Kramer, 2008;Levin, 2011;Moisala et al., 2017). Existem também estudos que indicam que pessoas com demência aprendem a interagir e a desempenhar atividades informatizadas por meios implícitos, resultando em produção de aprendizagem e melhorias na precisão ou velocidade, dependendo das exigências do jogo (Astell, 2010;Lévy, 1999 (Warschauer, 2006, p. 282). ...
... Exergames are ludic activities, whose objective is the promotion of physical exercise, can therefore help to promote active aging (Parra, 2014). Studies with older people using exergames showed improvements in short-term work, visual memories and reasoning ability (Basak et al., 2008;Levin, 2011;Moisala et al., 2017). There are also studies indicating that people with dementia learn to interact and perform computerized activities by implicit means, resulting in learning production and improvements in accuracy or speed, depending on the game requirements (Astell, 2010;Lévy, 1999). ...
Book
Tendo por pretexto as comemorações do Dia Nacional do Multimédia, efeméride instituída pela Associação para a Promoção do Multimédia e da Sociedade Digital, celebrada a 25 de junho, o presente eBook - O TELSC em números - retrata o percurso de um consórcio interinstitucional que vai já na sua quarta edição, e que congrega as Universidades de Lisboa, de Aveiro e do Minho em torno de um ideário de desenvolvimento de competências de 3ºCiclo de Bolonha, consubstanciado no Programa de Doutoramento em Aprendizagem Enriquecida com Tecnologia e Desafios Societais (Technology Enhanced Learning and Societal Challenges - TELSC)
... Indeed past behavioral studies showed that long-term AVG experience was related to VWM improvement using a change detection task (Boot et al., 2008;Clark et al., 2011;Blacker and Curby, 2013;Wilms et al., 2013;Blacker et al., 2014;Li et al., 2015) and alternative tasks Bavelier, 2003, 2006;Sungur and Boduroglu, 2012;Colzato et al., 2013;Oei and Patterson, 2013;McDermott et al., 2014;Waris et al., 2019). Additionally, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) research showed that AVG experience was related to superior VWM ability and modulation in the activity of the fronto-parietal cortex dependently on task difficulty (Moisala et al., 2017). These findings suggested that the AVG experience may facilitate the development of VWM. ...
... The ARSG experts outperformed the non-experts, as indicated by the finding that the accuracy was higher in the experts than in the non-experts at size 1, size 2, and size 4. Previous studies found that AVG experience is related to an improved VWM performance in several tasks Bavelier, 2003, 2006;Boot et al., 2008;Cusack et al., 2009;Clark et al., 2011;Sungur and Boduroglu, 2012;Blacker and Curby, 2013;Colzato et al., 2013;Oei and Patterson, 2013;Wilms et al., 2013;Blacker et al., 2014;McDermott et al., 2014;Li et al., 2015;Moisala et al., 2017;Waris et al., 2019). For example, Blacker et al. found that AVG experts had a VWM advantage in accuracy over non-experts in a change detection task, similar to our simple colored stimuli (Blacker and Curby, 2013;Blacker et al., 2014). ...
Article
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Action real-time strategy gaming (ARSG)—a major genre of action video gaming (AVG)—has both action and strategy elements. ARSG requires attention, visual working memory (VWM), sensorimotor skills, team cooperation, and strategy-making abilities, thus offering promising insights into the learning-induced plasticity. However, it is yet unknown whether the ARSG experience is related to the development of VWM capacity. Using both behavioral and event-related potential (ERP) measurements, this study tested whether ARSG experts had larger VWM capacity than non-experts in a change detection task. The behavioral results showed that ARSG experts had higher accuracy and larger VWM capacity than non-experts. In addition, the ERP results revealed that the difference wave of the contralateral delay activity (CDA) component (size 4–size 2) elicited by experts was significantly larger than that of non-experts, suggesting that the VWM capacity was higher in experts than in non-experts. Thus, the findings suggested that prolonged ARSG experience is correlative with the enhancement of VWM.
... Volume ■■ tionally, we analyzed the difference between 1-and 2-back performances by subtracting the scores between both tasks to study whether the lifestyle habits affected scores changes owing to the increase in n-back load or task difficulty. 17 This outcome controls for individual performance, and therefore increases its reliability. We measured overall accuracy (including both hits and correct rejections), and d′, a measure of detection subtracting the normalized false alarm rate from the hit rate: (Z hit rate -Z false alarm rate). ...
Article
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Background: Prospective longitudinal studies are essential in characterizing cognitive trajectories, yet few of them have been reported on the development of attention processes in children. We aimed to explore attention development in normal children and children with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in a repeated measures design using the attention network test (ANT). Methods: The population sample included 2,835 children (49.6% girls) aged 7–11 years from 39 schools in Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain) who performed the ANT four times from January 2012 to March 2013. According to teacher ratings, 10.5% of the children presented ADHD symptoms. We performed multilevel mixed-effects linear regression models, adjusting for school and individual, to test the effects of age-related growth on the ANT networks: alerting, orienting and executive attention, and three measurements related to attentiveness: median of hit reaction time (HRT), hit reaction time standard error (HRT-SE) and variability. Results: We observed age-related growth in all the outcomes, except orienting. The curves were steeper at the younger groups, although for alertness the improvement was further at the oldest ages. Gender and ADHD symptoms interacted with age in executive attention, HRT and variability. Girls performed better in executive attention at young ages although boys reached females at around 10 years of age. For HRT, males showed faster HRT. However, girls had a more pronounced improvement and reached the levels of boys at age 11. Children with ADHD symptoms had significant differences in executive attention, HRT and variability compared to children without ADHD symptoms. Conclusions: We detected an ongoing development of some aspects of attention in primary school children, differentiating patterns by gender and ADHD symptoms. Our findings support the ANT for assessing attention processes in children in large epidemiological studies.
... The SDP measure (see e.g. Hietajärvi et al., 2016, Moisala et al., 2016a consisted of 33 items (32 items were used in the elementary school questionnaire). The multi-item instrument is designed and previously used to assess different approaches and latent orientations to digital participation ) especially among adolescents. ...
Article
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This study contributes to the research on the differences in young peoples' approaches to socio-digital participation (SDP). We first investigated the differences in SDP between three samples of Finnish students (i.e., elementary school 6th grade, n = 741; high school 1st year, n = 1317; higher education 1st year, n = 1232) and then looked at how these differences are associated with academic well-being. We used exploratory structural equation modeling to investigate the factor structure of SDP and further structural relations to study engagement and study burnout. Despite some differences between the three student cohorts regarding the factor structure of SDP, the same five dimensions of participation were identified in all of them: social networking oriented participation, knowledge-oriented participation, media-oriented participation, action gaming, and social gaming. In the high school sample also a sixth factor, blogging-oriented participation, differentiated from the knowledge oriented dimension. Taken together, using digital technologies to communicate and maintain social networks (social networking), was consistently either related to lower study engagement or to higher study burnout. Playing of action and sports games (action gaming) was related in all samples either to lower engagement or higher cynicism. Using digital tools to gain and share knowledge (knowledge-oriented) was, in contrast, related to higher study engagement. The results demonstrate that students' digital activities reflect multiple dimensions that are differently related to academic well-being. This study sheds light on the complexity of young peoples' SDP orientations and their related outcomes such as socio-emotional and motivational functioning.
... For example, in their review of research, Granic et al. (2014) conclude that video games hold tremendous potential for learning. Th is conclusion is further supported by fi ndings from a number of studies (for instance Baniqued et al., 2013;Barr, 2017;Moisala et al., 2017). Several scholars have called for video games to be recognized (and used) as learning tools (Gee, 2005;Shaff er, Squire, Halverson & Gee, 2005). ...
Article
Th is article draws upon fi ndings from research on the eff ects of gaming, educational psychology , teacher professionalism as well as school improvement, to develop a framework for linking video game activities to formal education. Th is framework uses video game achievements: virtual trophies received for completing tasks or mastering challenges, as a proxy indicator for the development of competencies relevant to formal education. We suggest that this knowledge can be harnessed to improve teaching and learning, in particular teacher perceptions, teaching skills, and, ultimately, measurable changes in stu-dents' learning. Showing teachers what students can actually do and are already doing (in video games) could help them better understand areas of strength and interest of their students.
... Between-participant analyses of brain imaging data often entail smaller effect sizes. In our previous studies (Moisala et al., 2016(Moisala et al., , 2017, we observed effect sizes in the order of η2 = 0.03-0.04 for associations between individual background variables and brain activity in region-of-interest (ROI) analyses. ...
Article
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Previous studies have examined the neural correlates of receiving negative feedback from peers during virtual social interaction in young people. However, there is a lack of studies applying platforms adolescents use in daily life. In the present study, 92 late-adolescent participants performed a task that involved receiving positive and negative feedback to their opinions from peers in a Facebook-like platform, while brain activity was measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Peer feedback was shown to activate clusters in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC), superior temporal gyrus and sulcus (STG/STS), and occipital cortex (OC). Negative feedback was related to greater activity in the VLPFC, MPFC, and anterior insula than positive feedback, replicating previous findings on peer feedback and social rejection. Real-life habits of social media use did not correlate with brain responses to negative feedback.
... The popularity of online games had attracted research interests in investigating the impacts of excessive gaming. Empirical studies (e.g., Bowman and Tamborini 2012;Green and Bavelier 2012;Moisala et al. 2017) reported that gaming produces several positive effects, including the improvement of cognitive functioning and mood regulation. However, excessive indulgence is also linked to poor sleep quality, low life satisfaction, attentional impulsivity, depression, and aggression (e.g., Altintas et al. 2019; Bargeron and Hormes 2017;Hasan et al. 2012;Ryu et al. 2018). ...
Article
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Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) genre has been expanding rapidly in Malaysia. However, the nature of this genre is addictive. Research in the area of Internet gaming disorder (IGD) among gamers of this genre is relatively new, signifying a substantial literature gap to be filled. The aim of the present study was to examine the selected determinants (i.e., motivations of gaming and identification of avatar) of IGD among MOBA gamers. The mediating role of identification of avatar in the associations between motivations of gaming (i.e., achievement, socialization, and immersion) and IGD was also investigated. A total of 1175 gamers were recruited through MOBA online groups in social media. Males were accounted for 75.20% (n = 808) and aged between 18 and 29 (Mage = 22.19 years, SD = 3.30). The findings revealed that motivation of achievement, motivation of immersion, and identification of avatar positively predict IGD, whereas motivation of socialization negatively predicts IGD among MOBA gamers. Identification of avatar was found as a significant mediator of the relationships between motivations of gaming and IGD. A large effect size was found with a total of 45% of variances explained by each determinant in the study. Overall, the findings of the present study provided empirical evidence for the underlying determinants of IGD. Intensive collaboration from various parties should be established for diminishing the potential adverse impacts of IGD on youth nowadays.
... It is developmentally significant that young generations have cognitively socialized to a radically different social and technological environment than the older generations (Wexler, 2006). The earlier and the more intensively young people adapt to the transforming cognitive, social, and cultural environment, the stronger the impact of this environment on their intellectual, emotional, behavioural, and social engagement is likely to be ( Moisala et al, 2016a;2016b;Ritella & Hakkarainen, 2012). ...
Article
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This article examined digital learning engagement as the out-of-school learning component that reflects informally emerging socio-digital participation. The gap hypothesis proposes that students who prefer learning with digital technologies outside of school are less engaged in traditional school. This hypothesis was approached from the framework of connected learning, referring to the process of connecting self-regulated and interest-driven learning across formal and informal contexts. We tested this hypothesis with longitudinal data. It was of interest how digital engagement, operationalized as a general digital learning preference, wish for digital schoolwork, and their interaction, is related to traditional school engagement. This was examined both cross-sectionally in three time points and longitudinally across three years. The participants were 1,705 (43.7% female) 7th–9th graders (13-15 years old) from 27 schools in Helsinki, Finland. We explored the structure of correlations between latent constructs at each time point separately, and finally, to evaluate longitudinal relations between digital engagement and school engagement we specified latent cross-lagged panel models. The results indicate that students holding a stronger general digital learning preference experienced higher schoolwork engagement, both contemporaneously and over time, indicating successful connected learning. However, the results also showed support for the gap hypothesis: Students who preferred digital learning but did not have the chance to digitally engage at school, experienced a decrease in school engagement over time. The article shows that there is a need to examine the reciprocal interactive processes between the learners and their social ecologies inside and outside school more closely.
... Their affinity networks, at least the most intimate ones, seemed to offer personally significant peer groups or dyads for the adolescents in a socioemotional sense as well (i.e.,Cole & Griffiths, 2007), some of whom having emerged entirely in the digital realm and dedicated to self-experimentation within it. In fact, the socio-digital environment has in some research been discovered as good as a(Downey & Gibbs, 2020;Mannerström, Hietajärvi, Muotka, & Salmela-Aro, 2018), if not even better(Adachi & Willoughby, 2013;Granic, Lobel, & Engels, 2014;Moisala et al., 2016;Przybylski & Weinstein, 2017;Przybylski, Weinstein, Ryan, & Rigby, 2009) environment for supporting youth identity and cognitive development as well as prosocial activities. Thus, updating the traditional sociometric developmental methodology to include also significant out-of-school networks should be seen as an important mission for future research. ...
Article
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Lay Description What is already known about this topic The developmental ecologies of our youth are being transformed through the socio‐digital revolution. Adolescents participate in their digital media ecologies in Friendship‐ (hanging out with friends) and Interest‐driven ways (messing around and geeking out related to interests). What this paper adds We describe the fine‐grained variance in the genres of socio‐digital participation (SDP) with the added layer of self‐perceived egocentric networks. Within each of these genres, there is variation of socially connected socio‐digital participation and the socioemotional depth of different size networks also varies. The youth also seem to vary in their motivational profiles related to their participation. The potential relevant psychological background factors behind different genres of participation are discussed. Implications for practice and/or policy Instructors can compete for the limited attention span of students' with the ubiquitous personal interests by Including central motivational elements of youth socio‐digital participation in learning. Utilizing school subjects as conceptual tools to solve students‐relevant problems in a connected manner.
... Smart devices provide possibilities to produce easily obtainable applications not only for entertainment but also for learning. Whereas video games may improve perceptual, attentional and some other cognitive abilities in adults and adolescents (Eichenbaum et al., 2014;Moisala et al., 2017;Bediou et al., 2018), learning games seem to be a good means to expose children to potentially useful learning materials in an age-appropriate manner. A possibility to use animations, pictures, and sound and to make games interactive via touch and speech enable different applications ("apps") for learning foreign languages (for novel word learning, see Russo-Johnson et al., 2017;Junttila and Ylinen, 2020). ...
Article
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Digital and mobile devices enable easy access to applications for the learning of foreign languages. However, experimental studies on the effectiveness of these applications are scarce. Moreover, it is not understood whether the effects of speech and language training generalize to features that are not trained. To this end, we conducted a four-week intervention that focused on articulatory training and learning of English words in 6–7-year-old Finnish-speaking children who used a digital language-learning game app Pop2talk. An essential part of the app is automatic speech recognition that enables assessing children’s utterances and giving instant feedback to the players. The generalization of the effects of such training in English were explored by using discrimination tasks before and after training (or the same period of time in a control group). The stimuli of the discrimination tasks represented phonetic contrasts from two non-trained languages, including Russian sibilant consonants and Mandarin tones. We found some improvement with the Russian sibilant contrast in the gamers but it was not statistically significant. No improvement was observed for the tone contrast for the gaming group. A control group with no training showed no improvement in either contrast. The pattern of results suggests that the game may have improved the perception of non-trained speech sounds in some but not all individuals, yet the effects of motivation and attention span on their performance could not be excluded with the current methods. Children’s perceptual skills were linked to their word learning in the control group but not in the gaming group where recurrent exposure enabled learning also for children with poorer perceptual skills. Together, the results demonstrate beneficial effects of learning via a digital application, yet raise a need for further research of individual differences in learning.
... The correlation between alerting and conflict was stronger for AVGPs, while the correlations for other functions were tighter for NAVGPs in the visual task, suggesting that AVGs benefit abilities associated with alerting and executive control. AVG playing has been found to be associated with neural changes in the prefrontal cortex (Moisala et al., 2017), left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and frontal eye fields (Kuhn et al., 2014). This suggests the relationship between AVGs and executive control, which refers to the higher-level ability to focus on the task and ignore noise over space and time (Green and Bavelier, 2015). ...
Article
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Attention can help an individual efficiently find a specific target among multiple distractors and is proposed to consist of three functions: alerting, orienting, and executive control. Action video games (AVGs) have been shown to enhance attention. However, whether AVG can affect the attentional functions across different modalities remains to be determined. In the present study, a group of action video game players (AVGPs) and a group of non-action video game players (NAVGPs) selected by a video game usage questionnaire successively participated in two tasks, including an attention network task-visual version (ANT-V) and an attention network task-auditory version (ANT-A). The results indicated that AVGPs showed an advantage in orienting under the effects of conflicting stimuli (executive control) in both tasks, and NAVGPs may have a reduced ability to disengage when conflict occurs in visual task, suggesting that the AVGs can improve guidance toward targets and inhibition of distractors with the function of executive control. AVGPs also showed more correlations among attentional functions. Importantly, the alerting functions of AVGPs in visual and auditory tasks were significantly related, indicating that the experience of AVGs could help us to generate a supramodal alerting effect across visual and auditory modalities.
... Internet participation. Students' internet activities were assessed with the 24-item Socio-Digital Participation Inventory (SDPi) employed by Hietajärvi, Seppä, and Hakkarainen (2017) and Moisala et al. (2017). We examined four subscales: social networking ("I update my "status" or share interesting things (pictures/links) with others in social media (Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter), knowledge-oriented ("I search for new information about my hobbies or things I'm interested in"), media-oriented ("I share my own creations (text, videos, picture, music) with others") and technology-oriented ("I create websites for others"). ...
Article
Developing a stable personal identity is considered a more precarious task in today’s society than hitherto. Skilful digital engagement may, however, constitute a valuable asset in necessary identity exploration and commitment. Applying a person-oriented approach, we examined for the first time how identity profiles are associated with digital engagement, operationalized as digital competence, gaming seriousness, type of internet activity and excessive ICT use. After controlling for gender, life satisfaction and parental SES, this study of a Finnish high school sample (N = 932) revealed that adolescents with future commitments and some exploration of options (achievement, searching moratorium) were the most advanced in digital skills and, in the former case, least prone to excessive ICT use. By contrast, adolescents desperately trying to solve the identity task (ruminative moratorium) scored highest on friendship-driven internet activity and excessive ICT use, whereas diffused individuals had the weakest digital competence. No differences between the profiles emerged regarding gaming and interest-driven internet activity. The results suggest that the digital world and related devices are purposeful tools for shaping and maintaining healthy identity commitments.
... The UK Millennium Cohort study yielded similar results on video games as they were not associated with any emotional symptoms or problems with peer socialisation and prosocial behaviour ( Parkes et al., 2013 ). In contrast, video gaming has been linked with positive outcomes such as enhanced working memory performance and task-related cortical activity ( Moisala et al., 2017 ), as well as training of emotional skills like self-regulation practices ( Gabbiadini & Greitemeyer, 2017 ). ...
Article
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The development of new technology and the central role it plays in current times has allowed an increasing number of children and young people (CYP) to use it on a daily basis for academic, entertainment, and socialisation purposes. Although the role of technology in affecting CYP's mental health and education is well researched, there is a need to investigate the teacher perspective, considering educators’ pivotal role in supporting CYP's wellbeing and learning. Understanding the teacher perspective can provide important information about practical issues surrounding the use of technology in education and can provide insights into how their practices are affected by their views. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate teachers’ views on how use of technology affects CYP's emotions and behaviours. An exploratory, qualitative research approach was taken, and semi-structured interview data was collected from eight teachers and analysed thematically. The results suggested teachers recognised the importance of technology as a learning and teaching tool, as long as it is used in a balanced way; there was also a consensus on the negative consequences of the ‘socioeconomic digital divide’ on CYP's emotions and behaviours. However, they held conflicting opinions on issues related to the impact of technology on socialisation processes, self-esteem, and the demonstration of specific behaviours like social isolation. Teachers’ perceptions can inform strategies for using technology effectively in the classroom and for supporting CYP's mental health and wellbeing, which, now more than ever, should be at the forefront of whole-school approaches.
... Alternatively, we found that both higher Corsi span scores (spatial working memory) and video game familiarity were correlated with better performance in the VR memorization task. The literature suggests that playing computer games can improve working memory capacity [42,43]. If this is the case, there should be a mediated relationship between gaming and learning enhancement in virtual environments. ...
Conference Paper
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Although the COVID-19 pandemic has made the need for remote data collection more apparent than ever, progress has been slow in the virtual reality (VR) research community, and little is known about the quality of the data acquired from crowdsourced participants who own a head-mounted display (HMD), which we call crowdXR. To investigate this problem, we report on a VR spatial cognition experiment that was conducted both in-lab and out-of-lab. The in-lab study was administered as a traditional experiment with undergraduate students and dedicated VR equipment. The out-of-lab study was carried out remotely by recruiting HMD owners from VR-related research mailing lists, VR subreddits in Reddit, and crowdsourcing platforms. Demographic comparisons show that our out-of-lab sample was older, included more males, and had a higher sense of direction than our in-lab sample. The results of the involved spatial memory tasks indicate that the reliability of the data from out-of-lab participants was as good as or better than their in-lab counterparts. Additionally, the data for testing our research hypotheses were comparable between in- and out-of-lab studies. We conclude that crowdsourcing is a feasible and effective alternative to the use of university participant pools for collecting survey and performance data for VR research, despite potential design issues that may affect the generalizability of study results. We discuss the implications and future directions of running VR studies outside the laboratory and provide a set of practical recommendations.
... The present results are in line with recent studies. Daily gaming performance has been associated with improved working memory performance in adolescents as well as increased recruitment of the frontoparietal network during working memory (n-back) tasks (Moisala et al., 2016). An enhanced integration of top-down and bottom-up networks has also been recently documented in individuals who play Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games. ...
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Objectives The ability to resist distraction and focus on‐task‐relevant information while being responsive to changes in the environment is fundamental to goal‐directed behavior. Such attentional control abilities are regulated by a constant interplay between previously characterized bottom‐up and top‐down attentional networks. Here we ask about the neural changes within these two attentional networks that may mediate enhanced attentional control. Materials and Methods To address this question, we contrasted action video game players (AVGPs) and nonvideo game players (NVGPs) in a Posner‐cueing paradigm, building on studies documenting enhanced attentional control in AVGPs. Results Behavioral results indicated a trend for more efficient target processing in AVGPs, and better suppression in rare catch trials for which responses had to be withheld. During the cue period, AVGPs recruited the top‐down network less than NVGPs, despite showing comparable validity effects, in line with a greater efficiency of that network in AVGPs. During target processing, as previously shown, recruitment of top‐down areas correlated with greater processing difficulties, but only in NVGPs. AVGPs showed no such effect, but rather greater activation across the two networks. In particular, the right temporoparietal junction, middle frontal gyrus, and superior parietal cortex predicted better task performance in catch trials. A functional connectivity analysis revealed enhanced correlated activity in AVGPs compared to NVGPs between parietal and visual areas. Conclusions These results point to dynamic functional reconfigurations of top‐down and bottom‐up attentional networks in AVGPs as attentional demands vary. Aspects of this functional reconfiguration that may act as key signatures of high attentional control are discussed.
... In fact, driving simulation is already being considered as a novel tool for assessment, intervention and training in both typically developing teens and those with clinical impairment [65]. In addition, gaming activity and skills have been associated with both better working memory capacity and driving performance in typically developing adolescents [49,66], which could open up a new avenue for intervention via more accessible computer game simulated driver training for high-risk adolescents. ...
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Motor vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of injury and death in adolescents, with teen drivers three times more likely to be in a fatal crash when compared to adults. One potential contributing risk factor is the ongoing development of executive functioning with maturation of the frontal lobe through adolescence and into early adulthood. Atypical development resulting in poor or impaired executive functioning (as in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder) has been associated with risky driving and crash outcomes. However, executive function broadly encompasses a number of capacities and domains (e.g., working memory, inhibition, set-shifting). In this review, we examine the role of various executive function sub-processes in adolescent driver behavior and crash rates. We summarize the state of methods for measuring executive control and driving outcomes and highlight the great heterogeneity in tools with seemingly contradictory findings. Lastly, we offer some suggestions for improved methods and practical ways to compensate for the effects of poor executive function (such as in-vehicle assisted driving devices). Given the key role that executive function plays in safe driving, this review points to an urgent need for systematic research to inform development of more effective training and interventions for safe driving among adolescents.
... Snodgrass et al., 2018), strengthening social bonds (e.g. Evans et al., 2018) and enabling participation (Kowert et al., 2014), research on gaming has also revealed cognitive benefits (Moisala et al., 2017) and positive learning effects (De Freitas, 2018). Game players and their families are aware of the complex tensions between risks and benefits, and negotiate them in everyday life (e.g. ...
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This qualitative study examines how the spring 2020 COVID-19 restriction measures impacted adults' gaming in Finland. The study draws on a thematic analysis of qualitative data (N = 201) collected in April 2020, which is explored through the lens of Apperley's (2010) theory of gaming rhythms. The results illuminate the ways in which gaming was situated in everyday life both during and before the COVID-19 restrictions, and how the pandemic and its associated restrictions disrupted, reinforced, and reconfigured the everyday rhythms of gaming. The situation impacted individuals and families differently, being beneficial to some and detrimental to others, contingent on other aspects of respondents' lives. The results underline how an individual's gaming does not happen in isolation, but takes place in the confines of everyday life, shaped by factors outside the individual's control. Developing Apperley's theory, the results show that gaming can be a very resilient activity, given the right circumstances.
... Volume ■■ tionally, we analyzed the difference between 1-and 2-back performances by subtracting the scores between both tasks to study whether the lifestyle habits affected scores changes owing to the increase in n-back load or task difficulty. 17 This outcome controls for individual performance, and therefore increases its reliability. We measured overall accuracy (including both hits and correct rejections), and d′, a measure of detection subtracting the normalized false alarm rate from the hit rate: (Z hit rate -Z false alarm rate). ...
Article
Objective: To evaluate the role of extracurricular physical activity and sedentary behavior at preschool and primary school age on working memory at primary school age and adolescence, respectively. Study design: This prospective study was based on a birth cohort across 4 Spanish regions. In the 3 younger subcohorts (n = 1093), parents reported lifestyle habits of child at age 4 years of age on a questionnaire, and children performed a computerized working memory task at 7 years of age. In the older subcohort (n = 307), the questionnaire was completed at 6 years of age and working memory was tested at 14 years of age. Adjusted regression models were developed to investigate the associations between lifestyle habits and working memory. Results: Low extracurricular physical activity levels at 4 years of age were associated with a nonsignificant 0.95% (95% CI -2.81 to 0.92) reduction of correct responses in the working memory task at age 7 years of age. Low extracurricular physical activity levels at 6 years of age were associated with a 4.22% (95% CI -8.05 to -0.39) reduction of correct responses at age 14 years. Television watching was not associated with working memory. Other sedentary behaviors at 6 year of age were associated with a 5.07% (95% CI -9.68 to -0.46) reduction of correct responses in boys at 14 years of age. Conclusion: Low extracurricular physical activity levels at preschool and primary school ages were associated with poorer working memory performance at primary school age and adolescence, respectively. High sedentary behavior levels at primary school age were related negatively to working memory in adolescent boys.
... 95% CI, 0.00 to 0.10; k = 2) on literacy grades (Liu et al., 2017), or that educational or informational use of social media correlates positively with GPA among US and EU college students (Junco, 2012a;Karpinski et al., 2016). Although digital gaming is purported to have benefits in developing various competencies (Alho et al., 2022, in this special issue; Granic et al., 2014;Moisala et al., 2016a;2016b), there appears to be little evidence of these being reflected in better academic performance (cf. Adelantado-Renau et al., 2019). ...
Article
Since the turn of the millennium, the digital revolution has opened a new layer of opportunities for adolescents to participate, create and learn. Simultaneously there has been growth in both debate and worries regarding how the intensive engagement with digital media affects students’ academic performance, engagement, and school-related well-being, that is, academic functioning. Students’ continuously evolving digital practices are not always in congruence with the more traditional ways of schoolwork. Students flourish and fulfill their potential when the informal and formal practices of learning reach congruence, but when this is not the case, frictions can emerge. Spending time with digital media can provide new avenues for learning and development, but it can equally well divert young people from their studies or increase the daily demands. In this narrative review, we address these continuities and discontinuities between engagement with digital media and academic functioning for school-aged children and young people, focusing on meta-analyses, reviews, and key studies. Following the examination of the current literature, we conclude that, in general, the field of “digital media effects” needs to move beyond screen time and utilize the research on the students’ multidimensional socio-digital engagement already conducted. Second, we conclude that the average effects of digital engagement on academic functioning are negligibly small but heterogeneous, further corroborating the claim to examine the qualitative differences in students’ digital engagement, the individual differences between students, as well as the contextual interplay.
... There is growing support for the effectiveness of digital games for social, emotional, and behavioral development [21,[27][28][29][30]. Digital platforms have been shown to increase comprehension and recall of presented material over conventional instructional methods and produce greater generalization of acquired skills to real-life behavior (Clark et al., 2016) [31,32]. Further, there is increasing evidence that digital environments are especially effective at targeting higherorder thinking skills of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, which form the basis of social problem solving [28,33]. ...
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Traditional social skills training (SST) programs are delivered in person and suffer from significant time, financial, and opportunity barriers that limit their reach and potential benefits for youth. This paper describes the design and preliminary evaluation of Hall of Heroes , a digital game that presents SST through an engaging superhero-themed virtual story world. Participants were randomly assigned to complete the digital game (n = 15) or to a waitlist control condition (n = 14) and were compared on parent-report measures of social emotional functioning. Youth who completed Hall of Heroes significantly improved in their abilities to relate to others (both peers and family members) as well as to accept affection and express emotions with others, compared to youth who did not complete the SST intervention. Further, youth in the treatment condition showed a significantly greater decline in feelings of anxiety, depression, and hopelessness than did youth in the control condition. Both parents and youth reported high levels of engagement in and acceptability of the Hall of Heroes . This study adds to the research literature, supporting the potential of a game-based SST platform for effectively helping youth develop prosocial social problem-solving skills.
Article
The Cambridge Handbook of Technology and Employee Behavior - edited by Richard N. Landers February 2019
Chapter
The role that video games play in the lives of teenagers has grown dramatically and without pause for the past generation or two. Between computers, smart phones, and dedicated game consoles, not only are individual adolescents spending more of their days playing video games, but the percentage of teens whose daily lives include video games is quickly approaching universality. In this chapter, we first review recent trends in video gaming and explore the various and myriad video games that teens tend to play as well as their motivations to play video games. Then, we review the literature regarding the influence of playing different types of commercial video games on mental health. And last, we explore recent innovations in game development whereby video games are specifically developed to improve mental health symptoms or psychosocial adjustment, including a review of the research supporting use of these “impactful video games.” It is hoped that the information presented in this chapter will provide practitioners with greater understanding of the diversity and breadth of experiences that fall under the umbrella term “video gaming” in order to help foster more open and productive conversations with teens about their video gaming behavior. We also hope the research evidence presented in this chapter will encourage practitioners to integrate the use of video games into their treatment of teen patients, both as a means of fostering the therapeutic alliance and as an innovative accompaniment to traditional therapeutic methods to enhance teens’ mental and behavioral health.
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Most of the players have experienced the feeling of temporarily losing their character in a given gameplay situation when they cannot control the character, simply because they temporarily cannot see it. The main reasons for this feeling may be due to the interplay of the following factors: (1) the visual complexity of the game is unexpectedly increased compared with the previous time period as more and more game objects and effects are rendered on the display; (2) and/or the game is lagging; (3) and finally, it is also possible that the players have no sufficient experience with controlling the character. This paper focuses on the first reason. We have developed a benchmark program which allows its user to experience the feeling of losing character. While the user can control the character well the benchmark program will increase the visual complexity of the display. Otherwise, if the user lost the character then the program will decrease the complexity until the user will find the character again, and so on. The complexity is measured based on the number of changed pixels between two consecutive display images. Our measurements show that the average of bit per second values of losing and finding pairs describes the user well. The final goal of this research is to further develop our benchmark to a standard psychological test.
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Objective: This study aims to examine differences between adolescent video game players and non-players in terms of their reaction time, manual dexterity, and working memory levels. Methods: The sample of the study, which has a comparative cross-sectional design type, consists of 432 adolescents at the grades between 9 and 12. Non-video game players, and video game players were subjected to simple visual and auditory reaction time tests, manual dexterity tests, matrix, and digit span working memory test. Results: Compared to non-video game players, video game players were found to have shorter visual and auditory reaction times. Also, several motor dexterity subtest skills of video game players were found to be lower, while working memory did not differ between the two groups. Conclusion: Our findings support the idea that playing video games seem to improve some aspects of cognitive and motor skills but reduce several other aspects.
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Cambridge Core - Organisation Studies - The Cambridge Handbook of Technology and Employee Behavior - edited by Richard N. Landers
Article
Studies have indicated that video gaming is positively associated with cognitive performance in select cognitive domains, but the magnitudes of these associations have been called into question, as they have frequently been based on extreme groups analyses that have compared video gamers with non-gamers. When including the whole range of participants, and not just extreme cases, these effects were observed to reduce markedly (Unsworth et al., 2015). To further study this issue, we compared the associations between video gaming and aspects of working memory (WM) performance in an extreme groups design to those of a design that includes the full range of participants in a large adult sample (n = 503). WM was measured with three composite scores (verbal WM, visuospatial WM, n-back). The extreme groups analyses showed that video gamers performed better than non-gamers on all three WM measures, while the whole sample analyses indicated weak positive associations between the time spent playing video games and visuospatial WM and n-back performance. Thus, study design modulated the effects, but two of the three associations between WM and video gaming were consistent across both analysis techniques. A separate study confirmed that our questionnaire-based estimate of gaming hours was reliable when compared with one-week diaries of videogame playing. While the present cross-sectional results preclude causal inferences, possible mechanisms of WM – videogame playing associations and future research directions are discussed. Overall, our results indicate that cognition – videogame playing relationships, albeit weak, are not solely due to recently discussed methodological artefacts concerning the particular analytical approach and survey reliability.
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Sosiodigitaalisen osallistumisen, unenlaadun ja kouluhyvinvoinnin väliset yhteydet kuudesluokkalaisilla Tässä tutkimuksessa tutkittiin kuudesluokkalaisten sosiodigitaalisen osallistumisen (SDO), unenlaadun ja kouluhyvinvoinnin välisiä yhteyksiä. Tutkimme erityisesti sosiaaliseen mediaan osallistumisen ja digitaa-lisen pelaamisen yhteyttä kuudesluokkalaisten unenlaatuun, koulu-uupumukseen ja kouluintoon sekä sukupuolten välisiä eroja näissä. Tutkimme myös unenlaadun mahdollista välittävää vaikutusta SDO:n ja kouluhyvinvoinnin välillä. Tämä tutkimus on osa Mind the Gap-hanketta, ja tutkimuksen aineisto on kerät-ty kyselylomakkeilla helsinkiläisiltä kuudesluokkalaisilta keväällä 2013 (N = 749). Tulokset osoittivat, että tyttöjen aktiivinen yhteydenpito kavereiden kanssa ja toimintapelaaminen olivat yhteydessä heikompaan unenlaatuun. Aktiivisesti mediaa kuluttavat tytöt eivät olleet innostuneita opiskelusta, kun taas internetistä tietoa hakevat ja uutta tietoa luovat tytöt raportoivat opiskeluintoa. Paljon mediaa kuluttavat pojat raportoivat heikompaa unenlaatua, ja aktiivisesti toimintapelejä pelaavat kokivat koulu-uupumusta. Heikompi unenlaatu oli yhteydessä koulu-uupumukseen ja alhaisempaan opiskeluintoon molemmilla sukupuolilla. Tytöillä unen-laatu välitti osittain kaverisuuntautuneen sosiodigitaalisen osallistumisen ja riittämättömyyden tunteiden sekä uupumusasteisen väsymyksen välisiä yhteyksiä. Pojilla unenlaadun välittävää vaikutusta ei havaittu. Avainsanat: sosiodigitaalinen osallistuminen, digitaalinen pelaaminen, unenlaatu, koulu-uupumus, opiskeluinto
Article
The possibility of leveraging video games for enhancing behavior and brain function has led to an emerging new field situated at the crossroads of cognitive neuroscience, health science, educational interventions, and game design. Here we review the impact of video game play, in particular action video game play, on attentional control. We also examine the underlying neural bases of these effects and the game design features hypothesized to drive the plastic changes. We argue that not all games have the same impact, with both differences in the characteristics of the games themselves as well as individual differences in player style determining the final outcome. These facts, mixed with changes in the game industry, (e.g., greater mixing of genre characteristics; greater freedom of player experience) calls for a paradigm shift relative to the approach taken in the field to-date, including iteratively alternating between targeted game design and efficacy evaluation.
Chapter
In serious game development, violent elements are not used as widely as in the industry. Very few studies looked at the effects of violence in interactive educational contexts. This paper explores the effects of violent versus non-violent audiovisual and narrative elements. In which a better understanding can lead to a positive and appropriate use of violence in serious games. We present 2 experiments (n = 30 and 38) using a custom-made game for human bone anatomy learning. We conducted our first experiment incorporating violent and non-violent audiovisuals without narratives. Small negative effects were observed in the sample group with violent audiovisuals. Afterward, We conducted the second experiment incorporating narratives that aim to negate the negative effects. Our results found significant improvements in short-term memorization in all conditions in both experiments. Player experience evaluation indicates that the non-violent condition results in greater intuitive control, but only in the first experiment.
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In the last few decades, video game playing progressively became a widespread activity for many people, in childhood as well in adulthood. An increasing amount of literature has focused on pathological and non-pathological correlates of video game playing, with specific attention towards Internet Gaming Disorder (IGD). While many neurobiological studies in this field were based on neuroimaging, highlighting structural and functional brain changes among video game users, only a limited number of studies investigated the presence of biochemical correlates of video gaming. The present work aims to summarize and review the available literature about biochemical changes linked to video game use in IGD patients as well as non-pathological users, and the differences in between. Results may shed light on risks and benefits of video games, providing directions for further research on IGD treatment and, on other hand, on the potential role of video games in therapeutic or preventive protocols for specific conditions.
Conference Paper
This paper presents the findings of an investigation into the user ergonomics and performance for industry-inspired and traditional video game-inspired Heads-Up-Display (HUD) designs for target localization and identification in a 3D real-world environment. Our online user study (N = 85) compared one industry-inspired design (Ellipse) to three common video game HUD designs (Radar, Radar Indicator, and Compass). Participants interacted and evaluated each HUD design through our novel web-based game. The game involved a target localization and identification task where we recorded and analyzed their performance results as a quantitative metric. Afterwards, participants were asked to provide qualitative responses for specific aspects of each HUD design and comparatively rate the designs. Our findings show that not only do common video game HUDs provide comparable performance to the real-world inspired HUD, participants tended to prefer the designs they had experience with, these being video game designs.
Research
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Phenomenon map is a method used in producing reliable evidence syntheses on complex topics corresponding to user needs. It has been developed by Sofi, the Science Advice Initiative of Finland. This summary report includes all parts of the first phenomenon map, which explored the impacts of digital media. It provides useful reading material for anyone interested in the effects of digital media, the media use of children, young people and older people as well as evidence syntheses and their production.
Article
Action video game players (AVGPs) are proven to be significantly different from non-AVGPs (NAVGPs) in attention, which is proposed to be divided into three functional networks: alerting, orienting, and execution control. However, whether the hemispheric lateralization of attentional functions is influenced by the action video game is unclear. In the present study, we examined the lateralization of the three attentional functions in a group of AVGPs ( n = 33) compared to NAVGPs ( n = 34). The results showed that, relative to NAVGPs, the interactions between orienting and executive control in the left hemispheres of AVGPs were higher than those in the right hemisphere. Moreover, the correlations among the functions are much more sensitive in the left hemisphere. These results suggest significant left lateralization of the attentional functions in AVGPs.
Article
The increasing use of digital technology among adolescents and young adults has led to concerns about possible detrimental effects on cognitive and brain functions. Indeed, as reviewed here, according to behavioral and brain-imaging studies, excessive media multitasking (i.e., using different digital media in parallel) may lead to enhanced distractibility and problems in maintaining attention. However, frequent video gaming may be beneficial for the development of working memory, task switching, and attention skills. All these cognitive skills depend on executive cognitive functions. Still scant but gradually cumulating brain-imaging results suggest that the negative effects of frequent media multitasking and the positive effects of frequent video gaming on cognitive skills in adolescents and young adults are mediated by effects on the frontal lobes, implicated in executive cognitive functions and still developing even through early adulthood.
Chapter
Driving safety is recognized as critical for young people by institutions, insurances and research. The ability to manage such a complex activity as driving is still developing through adolescence and in early adulthood. The present research investigates the human factors in the driver-car interaction. The experimental method assesses the visual-motor coordination capabilities of future drivers, also in relation to their life styles. The results show that a frequent but good quality physical activity improves visual-motor coordination.
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In this longitudinal intervention study with experimental and control groups, we investigated the effects of video game training on the visuospatial working memory and episodic memory of healthy older adults. Participants were 19 volunteer older adults, who received 15 1-hr video game training sessions with a series of video games selected from a commercial package (Lumosity), and a control group of 20 healthy older adults. The results showed that the performance of the trainees improved significantly in all the practiced video games. Most importantly, we found significant enhancements after training in the trained group and no change in the control group in two computerized tasks designed to assess visuospatial working memory, namely the Corsi blocks task and the Jigsaw puzzle task. The episodic memory and short-term memory of the trainees also improved. Gains in some working memory and episodic memory tasks were maintained during a 3-month follow-up period. These results suggest that the aging brain still retains some degree of plasticity, and that video game training might be an effective intervention tool to improve working memory and other cognitive functions in older adults.
Conference Paper
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There is a hypothesized gap between the technology-mediated practices of adolescents and school, hindering student motivation and well-being. This study examined how students’ school motivation is associated with ICT-use. Previous research has shown that achievement goal orientations are related to students' academic and emotional functioning. Simultaneously, adolescents engage in various socio-digital activities on a daily basis. Our aim is to integrate these two approaches to examine whether students with different motivational profiles display different patterns of socio-digital participation. The participants were Finnish high school students (N=1342) who filled in a self-report questionnaire assessing school motivation and ICT-use both in and out of school. We examined the structural validity of the measurement model by confirmatory factor analyses, classified the students by latent profile analyses and examined group and gender differences by ANOVAs. Four groups were identified: indifferent, success-oriented, mastery-oriented, and avoidance-oriented. The groups differed in their generalized motivational beliefs and there were meaningful differences in terms of their orientations to socio-digital participation: e.g. indifferent students were more likely to engage in hanging-out and gaming, avoidance-oriented students were the least engaged in academic activities. Also, there were some interesting group × gender interaction effects. We found that students’ indifference towards school is associated with ICT-engagement outside of school (gaming and hanging-out). We conclude that there appears to be evidence of discontinuities between today's schools and their students, raising a question of whether the indifference is the cause or the outcome. Furthermore, the findings raise new insights on achievement goal and gender interaction effects.
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Working memory is a critical element of complex cognition, particularly under conditions of distraction and interference. Measures of working memory capacity correlate positively with many measures of real-world cognition, including fluid intelligence. There have been numerous attempts to use training procedures to increase working memory capacity and thereby performance on the real-world tasks that rely on working memory capacity. In the study reported here, we demonstrated that training on complex working memory span tasks leads to improvement on similar tasks with different materials but that such training does not generalize to measures of fluid intelligence.
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Cognitive control is defined by a set of neural processes that allow us to interact with our complex environment in a goal-directed manner. Humans regularly challenge these control processes when attempting to simultaneously accomplish multiple goals (multitasking), generating interference as the result of fundamental information processing limitations. It is clear that multitasking behaviour has become ubiquitous in today's technologically dense world, and substantial evidence has accrued regarding multitasking difficulties and cognitive control deficits in our ageing population. Here we show that multitasking performance, as assessed with a custom-designed three-dimensional video game (NeuroRacer), exhibits a linear age-related decline from 20 to 79 years of age. By playing an adaptive version of NeuroRacer in multitasking training mode, older adults (60 to 85 years old) reduced multitasking costs compared to both an active control group and a no-contact control group, attaining levels beyond those achieved by untrained 20-year-old participants, with gains persisting for 6 months. Furthermore, age-related deficits in neural signatures of cognitive control, as measured with electroencephalography, were remediated by multitasking training (enhanced midline frontal theta power and frontal-posterior theta coherence). Critically, this training resulted in performance benefits that extended to untrained cognitive control abilities (enhanced sustained attention and working memory), with an increase in midline frontal theta power predicting the training-induced boost in sustained attention and preservation of multitasking improvement 6 months later. These findings highlight the robust plasticity of the prefrontal cognitive control system in the ageing brain, and provide the first evidence, to our knowledge, of how a custom-designed video game can be used to assess cognitive abilities across the lifespan, evaluate underlying neural mechanisms, and serve as a powerful tool for cognitive enhancement.
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Visual short-term memory (VSTM) is critical for acquiring visual knowledge and shows marked individual variability. Previous work has illustrated a VSTM advantage among action video game players (Boot et al. Acta Psychologica 129:387-398, 2008). A growing body of literature has suggested that action video game playing can bolster visual cognitive abilities in a domain-general manner, including abilities related to visual attention and the speed of processing, providing some potential bases for this VSTM advantage. In the present study, we investigated the VSTM advantage among video game players and assessed whether enhanced processing speed can account for this advantage. Experiment 1, using simple colored stimuli, revealed that action video game players demonstrate a similar VSTM advantage over nongamers, regardless of whether they are given limited or ample time to encode items into memory. Experiment 2, using complex shapes as the stimuli to increase the processing demands of the task, replicated this VSTM advantage, irrespective of encoding duration. These findings are inconsistent with a speed-of-processing account of this advantage. An alternative, attentional account, grounded in the existing literature on the visuo-cognitive consequences of video game play, is discussed.
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Background Previous evidence points to a causal link between playing action video games and enhanced cognition and perception. However, benefits of playing other video games are under-investigated. We examined whether playing non-action games also improves cognition. Hence, we compared transfer effects of an action and other non-action types that required different cognitive demands. Methodology/Principal Findings We instructed 5 groups of non-gamer participants to play one game each on a mobile device (iPhone/iPod Touch) for one hour a day/five days a week over four weeks (20 hours). Games included action, spatial memory, match-3, hidden- object, and an agent-based life simulation. Participants performed four behavioral tasks before and after video game training to assess for transfer effects. Tasks included an attentional blink task, a spatial memory and visual search dual task, a visual filter memory task to assess for multiple object tracking and cognitive control, as well as a complex verbal span task. Action game playing eliminated attentional blink and improved cognitive control and multiple-object tracking. Match-3, spatial memory and hidden object games improved visual search performance while the latter two also improved spatial working memory. Complex verbal span improved after match-3 and action game training. Conclusion/Significance Cognitive improvements were not limited to action game training alone and different games enhanced different aspects of cognition. We conclude that training specific cognitive abilities frequently in a video game improves performance in tasks that share common underlying demands. Overall, these results suggest that many video game-related cognitive improvements may not be due to training of general broad cognitive systems such as executive attentional control, but instead due to frequent utilization of specific cognitive processes during game play. Thus, many video game training related improvements to cognition may be attributed to near-transfer effects.
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Given that the use of Likert scales is increasingly common in the field of social research it is necessary to determine which methodology is the most suitable for analysing the data obtained; although, given the categorization of these scales, the results should be treated as ordinal data it is often the case that they are analysed using techniques designed for cardinal measures. One of the most widely used techniques for studying the construct validity of data is factor analysis, whether exploratory or confirmatory, and this method uses correlation matrices (generally Pearson) to obtain factor solutions. In this context, and by means of simulation studies, we aim to illustrate the advantages of using polychoric rather than Pearson correlations, taking into account that the latter require quantitative variables measured in intervals, and that the relationship between these variables has to be monotonic. The results show that the solutions obtained using polychoric correlations provide a more accurate reproduction of the measurement model used to generate the data.
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Resting state functional connectivity reveals intrinsic, spontaneous networks that elucidate the functional architecture of the human brain. However, valid statistical analysis used to identify such networks must address sources of noise in order to avoid possible confounds such as spurious correlations based on non-neuronal sources. We have developed a functional connectivity toolbox Conn ( www.nitrc.org/projects/conn ) that implements the component-based noise correction method (CompCor) strategy for physiological and other noise source reduction, additional removal of movement, and temporal covariates, temporal filtering and windowing of the residual blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) contrast signal, first-level estimation of multiple standard functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging (fcMRI) measures, and second-level random-effect analysis for resting state as well as task-related data. Compared to methods that rely on global signal regression, the CompCor noise reduction method allows for interpretation of anticorrelations as there is no regression of the global signal. The toolbox implements fcMRI measures, such as estimation of seed-to-voxel and region of interest (ROI)-to-ROI functional correlations, as well as semipartial correlation and bivariate/multivariate regression analysis for multiple ROI sources, graph theoretical analysis, and novel voxel-to-voxel analysis of functional connectivity. We describe the methods implemented in the Conn toolbox for the analysis of fcMRI data, together with examples of use and interscan reliability estimates of all the implemented fcMRI measures. The results indicate that the CompCor method increases the sensitivity and selectivity of fcMRI analysis, and show a high degree of interscan reliability for many fcMRI measures.
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A study of the effect of video game practice on spatial abilities in girls and boys was carried out. Spatial performance, measured using two subtests of a computerized spatial skills battery, was significantly better in boys than in girls during pretest assessment. Subjects then practiced on an action video game, Marble Madness, or a computerized word game, Conjecture. Video game practice was significantly more effective than the word game in improving spatial performance on the posttest assessment; there was no significant interaction of gender with experimental treatment. However, video game practice was more effective for children who started out with relatively poor spatial skills. The pattern of results suggests that video games may be useful in equalizing individual differences in spatial skill performance, including those associated with gender.
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There is now a substantial body of work demonstrating that action video game experience results in enhancements in a wide variety of perceptual skills. More recently, several groups have also demonstrated improvements in abilities that are more cognitive in nature, in particular, the ability to efficiently switch between tasks. In a series of four experiments, we add to this body of work, demonstrating that the action video game player advantage is not exclusively due to an ability to map manual responses onto arbitrary buttons, but rather generalizes to vocal responses, is not restricted to tasks that are perceptual in nature (e.g. respond to a physical dimension of the stimulus such as its color), but generalizes to more cognitive tasks (e.g. is a number odd or even), and is present whether the switch requires a goal-switch or only a motor switch. Finally, a training study establishes that the relationship between the reduction in switch cost and action game playing is causal.
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Previous research has clearly demonstrated action video game improvements in visual and spatial attention. The present study investigated action video game related changes in the resolution of representations for both dynamic and stationary objects by comparing video game players (VGP) and non-video game players (NVGP). In a color wheel task (adapted from Zhang & Luck, 2008) where viewers were asked to freely recall the color of briefly presented objects, we found that VGPs were more accurate than NVGPs. Furthermore, in the Multiple Identity Tracking task (Horowitz et al., 2007), we found that VGPs were able to track not only more objects but also maintain identity of tracked objects better than NVGPs. Finally, we demonstrated that VGPs had greater attentional breadth and higher spatial representation resolution.
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We examined the relation of action video game practice and the optimization of executive control skills that are needed to coordinate two different tasks. As action video games are similar to real life situations and complex in nature, and include numerous concurrent actions, they may generate an ideal environment for practicing these skills (Green & Bavelier, 2008). For two types of experimental paradigms, dual-task and task switching respectively; we obtained performance advantages for experienced video gamers compared to non-gamers in situations in which two different tasks were processed simultaneously or sequentially. This advantage was absent in single-task situations. These findings indicate optimized executive control skills in video gamers. Similar findings in non-gamers after 15 h of action video game practice when compared to non-gamers with practice on a puzzle game clarified the causal relation between video game practice and the optimization of executive control skills.
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Working memory subsumes the capability to memorize, retrieve and utilize information for a limited period of time which is essential to many human behaviours. Moreover, impairments of working memory functions may be found in nearly all neurological and psychiatric diseases. To examine what brain regions are commonly and differently active during various working memory tasks, we performed a coordinate-based meta-analysis over 189 fMRI experiments on healthy subjects. The main effect yielded a widespread bilateral fronto-parietal network. Further meta-analyses revealed that several regions were sensitive to specific task components, e.g. Broca's region was selectively active during verbal tasks or ventral and dorsal premotor cortex were preferentially involved in memory for object identity and location, respectively. Moreover, the lateral prefrontal cortex showed a division in a rostral and a caudal part based on differential involvement in task set and load effects. Nevertheless, a consistent but more restricted "core" network emerged from conjunctions across analyses of specific task designs and contrasts. This "core" network appears to comprise the quintessence of regions, which are necessary during working memory tasks. It may be argued that the core regions form a distributed executive network with potentially generalized functions for focussing on competing representations in the brain. The present study demonstrates that meta-analyses are a powerful tool to integrate the data of functional imaging studies on a (broader) psychological construct, probing the consistency across various paradigms as well as the differential effects of different experimental implementations.
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A common or multiple-demand (MD) pattern of frontal and parietal activity is associated with diverse cognitive demands, and with standard tests of fluid intelligence. In intelligent behaviour, goals are achieved by assembling a series of sub-tasks, creating structured mental programs. Single cell and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data indicate a key role for MD cortex in defining and controlling the parts of such programs, with focus on the specific content of a current cognitive operation, rapid reorganization as mental focus is changed, and robust separation of successive task steps. Resembling the structured problem-solving of symbolic artificial intelligence, the mental programs of MD cortex appear central to intelligent thought and action.
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Some evidence demonstrates that video game experience has a beneficial effect on visuospatial cognition. In contrast, other evidence indicates that video game experience may be negatively related to cognitive control. In this study we examined the specificity of the influence of video game experience on cognitive control. Participants with high and low video game experience performed the Stroop task while event-related brain potentials were recorded. The behavioral data revealed no difference between high and low gamers for the Stroop interference effect and a reduction in the conflict adaptation effect in high gamers. The amplitude of the medial frontal negativity and a frontal slow wave was attenuated in high gamers, and there was no effect of gaming status on the conflict slow potential. These data lead to the suggestion that video game experience has a negative influence on proactive, but not reactive, cognitive control.
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Expert video game players often outperform non-players on measures of basic attention and performance. Such differences might result from exposure to video games or they might reflect other group differences between those people who do or do not play video games. Recent research has suggested a causal relationship between playing action video games and improvements in a variety of visual and attentional skills (e.g., [Green, C. S., & Bavelier, D. (2003). Action video game modifies visual selective attention. Nature, 423, 534-537]). The current research sought to replicate and extend these results by examining both expert/non-gamer differences and the effects of video game playing on tasks tapping a wider range of cognitive abilities, including attention, memory, and executive control. Non-gamers played 20+ h of an action video game, a puzzle game, or a real-time strategy game. Expert gamers and non-gamers differed on a number of basic cognitive skills: experts could track objects moving at greater speeds, better detected changes to objects stored in visual short-term memory, switched more quickly from one task to another, and mentally rotated objects more efficiently. Strikingly, extensive video game practice did not substantially enhance performance for non-gamers on most cognitive tasks, although they did improve somewhat in mental rotation performance. Our results suggest that at least some differences between video game experts and non-gamers in basic cognitive performance result either from far more extensive video game experience or from pre-existing group differences in abilities that result in a self-selection effect.
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Brain imaging and behavioral studies of working memory (WM) converge to suggest that the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (PFC) mediates a capacity-limited storage buffer and that the dorsolateral PFC mediates memory organization processes that support supracapacity memory storage. Previous research from our laboratory has shown that the extent to which such memory organization processes are required depends on both task factors (i.e., memory load) and subject factors (i.e., response speed). Task factors exert their effects mainly during WM encoding while subject factors exert their effects mainly during WM retrieval. In this study, we sought to test the generalizability of these phenomena under more difficult memory-demand conditions than have been used previously. During scanning, subjects performed a WM task in which they were required to maintain between 1 and 8 letters over a brief delay. Neural activity was measured during encoding, maintenance, and retrieval task periods using event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging. With increasing memory load, there were reaction time increases and accuracy rate decreases, ventrolateral PFC activation decreases during encoding, and dorsolateral PFC activation increases during maintenance and retrieval. These results suggest that the ventrolateral PFC mediates WM storage and that the dorsolateral PFC mediates strategic memory organization processes that facilitate supracapacity WM storage. Additionally, high-performing subjects showed overall less activation than low-performing subjects, but activation increases with increasing memory load in the lateral PFC during maintenance and retrieval. Low-performing subjects showed overall more activation than high-performing subjects, but minimal activation increases in the dorsolateral PFC with increasing memory load. These results suggest that individual differences in both neural efficiency and cognitive strategy underlie individual differences in the quality of subjects' WM performance.