Action video gaming and cognitive control: playing first person shooter games is associated with improvement in working memory but not action inhibition
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- Colzato, L.S., van den Wildenberg, W.P.M., Zmigrod, S. et al. Psychological Research (2013) 77: 234. doi:10.1007/s00426-012-0415-2
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The interest in the influence of videogame experience in our daily life is constantly growing. “First Person Shooter” (FPS) games require players to develop a flexible mindset to rapidly react and monitor fast moving visual and auditory stimuli, and to inhibit erroneous actions. This study investigated whether and to which degree experience with such videogames generalizes to other cognitive control tasks. Experienced video game players (VGPs) and individuals with little to no videogame experience (NVGPs) performed on a N-back task and a stop-signal paradigm that provide a relatively well-established diagnostic measure of the monitoring and updating of working memory (WM) and response inhibition (an index of behavioral impulsivity), respectively. VGPs were faster and more accurate in the monitoring and updating of WM than NVGPs, which were faster in reacting to go signals, but showed comparable stopping performance. Our findings support the idea that playing FPS games is associated with enhanced flexible updating of task-relevant information without affecting impulsivity.