Specific effects of action video games on perception and attention
Many research studies have established that playing action video games can lead to visual attention and perception benefits for the player. This dissertation pioneers the use of custom designed video game levels to determine if a single aspect of action video game play has specific effects on the player. In the following studies, specific aspects of action video games can indeed be isolated and thus potentially used as training tools for targeted perceptual benefits. Experiment 1 demonstrates that just two hours of training in a custom designed video game world that emphasizes friend vs. foe discrimination benefits players’ ability to focus on relevant visual information, and leads to marginally decreased flanker interference and marginally improved filtering capacity. Experiment 2 examines the beneficial effects of dispersed vs. narrowly focused attention in a second custom designed video game world. After two hours of game play, players in the dispersed attention condition significantly increased their visual working memory capacity and ability to allocate attention to peripheral items.