UBC Theses and Dissertations
Reduced attentional capture in action video game players Chisholm, Joseph Donald
Over the past 30 years, video games have become a more accepted and increasingly popular form of entertainment. Due to this increase in public interest as well as the increasing complexity of modern video games, researchers have begun to study whether extensive video game experience can affect cognitive and perceptual skills. Of particular interest is whether video game experience affects aspects of visual attention. Recent studies indicate that playing action video games improves performance on a number of visual attention-based tasks. However, it remains unclear whether action video game experience primarily affects endogenous or exogenous forms of spatial orienting. To examine this issue, action video game players and non-action video game players performed an attentional capture task. Results showed that action video game players responded quicker than non-action video game players both when a target appeared in isolation and when a salient, task-irrelevant distractor was present in the display. Action video game players additionally showed a smaller capture effect than non-action video game players. When coupled with the findings of previous studies, the collective evidence indicates that extensive experience with action video games may enhance players’ top-down attentional control which in turn can modulate the negative effects of bottom-up attentional capture. Collectively, this work also adds to the literature suggesting that video games can provide a novel form of rehabilitation for individuals living with various cognitive or visual deficits.
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