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Meta-analysis of action video game impact on perceptual, attentional, and cognitive skills

Adams, Deanne M.
Mayer, Richard E.
Tipton, Elizabeth
Green, C. Shawn
Published in Psychological bulletin. 2018, vol. 144, no. 1, p. 77-110
Abstract The ubiquity of video games in today's society has led to significant interest in their impact on the brain and behavior and in the possibility of harnessing games for good. The present meta-analyses focus on one specific game genre that has been of particular interest to the scientific community—action video games, and cover the period 2000–2015. To assess the long-lasting impact of action video game play on various domains of cognition, we first consider cross-sectional studies that inform us about the cognitive profile of habitual action video game players, and document a positive average effect of about half a standard deviation (g = 0.55). We then turn to long-term intervention studies that inform us about the possibility of causally inducing changes in cognition via playing action video games, and show a smaller average effect of a third of a standard deviation (g = 0.34). Because only intervention studies using other commercially available video game genres as controls were included, this latter result highlights the fact that not all games equally impact cognition. Moderator analyses indicated that action video game play robustly enhances the domains of top-down attention and spatial cognition, with encouraging signs for perception. Publication bias remains, however, a threat with average effects in the published literature estimated to be 30% larger than in the full literature. As a result, we encourage the field to conduct larger cohort studies and more intervention studies, especially those with more than 30 hours of training. Public Significance Statement : Understanding the effects of action video game play is essential given that (a) a large number of individuals regularly spend many hours on these types of games, and (b) proponents are offering suites of video games that are claimed to change behavior or enhance cognition. The 2 meta-analyses in this paper present the current status of this field, concluding that playing action video games has some positive effects on improving cognitive skills. This review also identifies some limitations of current research.
Keywords Action video gamesAttentionCognitionMeta-analysisPerception
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Article (Published version) (909 Kb) - public document Free access
Research group Brain & Learning Lab
Swiss National Science Foundation: 100014_159506
Swiss National Science Foundation: 100014_140676
Autre: Office of Naval Research N00014-14-1-0512
(ISO format)
BEDIOU, Benoît et al. Meta-analysis of action video game impact on perceptual, attentional, and cognitive skills. In: Psychological Bulletin, 2018, vol. 144, n° 1, p. 77-110. doi: 10.1037/bul0000130 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:101941

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Deposited on : 2018-02-06

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