Video Game Playing Enhances Young Children’s Inhibitory Control

  • Xiaocen LiuEmail author
  • Mengying Liao
  • Donghui Dou
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11595)


Inhibitory control (IC), one of the main components of executive function, is a high-order cognitive process that enables individuals to suppress prepotent reactions and resist irrelevant interference. It develops rapidly in early childhood and provides a foundation for cognitive and psychosocial development in children. Although differing perspectives exist, there is some agreement that IC may be enhanced through video game practice and training, and that the level of cognitive engagement (CE) may affect the training outcomes. This study explored the effects of training video games on IC (measured by a Go/No-Go task) in 90 four- to six-year-old children. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: low CE (played Whack-A-Mole), high CE (played Talking Tom Gold Run), or a control group (received no training). Both training groups were asked to play the assigned video game for 5 min/day for 5 consecutive days. Results showed that the experienced gamers performed better at IC than did non-gamers. Video game training triggered significant improvements (preschoolers responded more accurately and quickly in the Go/No-Go task after a total of 25 min of training). Reaction times were negatively correlated with accuracy, i.e., children who responded faster also made fewer mistakes. However, the level of CE in video games had no differential impact on IC in the present group of young children. These results highlight the potential beneficial effects of video games on IC in preschoolers, and indicate that video game training may serve as a promising alternative to conventional IC interventions.


Video games Young children Inhibitory control Executive function Go/No-Go task 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Capital Normal UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Central University of Finance and EconomicsBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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