The Effect of Video Game Training on the Neural Correlates of Cognition

Students: Sean McCartt, Kevin Rossi, and Brooke Martineau (Bay Path University)
Mentor: Kira Bailey (Department of Psychology, Neuroscience Program)

Our research looks at how video games may affect daily life. Specifically, we are looking at the effects of playing video games on the brain’s ability to maintain goals.  Action video game players are potentially less likely than strategy game players to actively focus on the task at hand.

Improvements in visuospatial processing have been shown following as little as 10 hours of playing action video games (AVGs; Green & Bavelier, 2003); however, other work suggests these same games may have a negative impact on cognitive control, the ability to flexibly adapt behavior to meet task demands (Bailey, West, & Anderson, 2010). Few studies have examined the impact of other genres of video games on cognitive control. The goal of the current study was to replicate and extend previous work examining the effects of action video games on cognitive control, and to examine the effects of a previously unstudied genre, real-time strategy (RTS) video games. Neural (event-related brain potentials) and behavioral (response time and accuracy) correlates of cognitive control were measured before and after 10 hours of training on either an AVG (Unreal Tournament 3) or an RTS (League of Legends). Data collection is ongoing, but at this time there are minimal differences pre and post-training in both the AVG and RTS groups.