, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 1055-1079
Date: 22 Mar 2013

Effects of video-game play on information processing: A meta-analytic investigation

Abstract

Do video games enhance cognitive functioning? We conducted two meta-analyses based on different research designs to investigate how video games impact information-processing skills (auditory processing, executive functions, motor skills, spatial imagery, and visual processing). Quasi-experimental studies (72 studies, 318 comparisons) compare habitual gamers with controls; true experiments (46 studies, 251 comparisons) use commercial video games in training. Using random-effects models, video games led to improved information processing in both the quasi-experimental studies, d = 0.61, 95 % CI [0.50, 0.73], and the true experiments, d = 0.48, 95 % CI [0.35, 0.60]. Whereas the quasi-experimental studies yielded small to large effect sizes across domains, the true experiments yielded negligible effects for executive functions, which contrasted with the small to medium effect sizes in other domains. The quasi-experimental studies appeared more susceptible to bias than were the true experiments, with larger effects being reported in higher-tier than in lower-tier journals, and larger effects reported by the most active research groups in comparison with other labs. The results are further discussed with respect to other moderators and limitations in the extant literature.