Shawn Green, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester

 

Shawn Green, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester

Carnegie Bldg. 3rd Floor Conference Room

Abstract:
Action video game players (VGPs) have been shown to outperform their non-game playing (NVGPs) peers on a number of sensory/cognitive measures.  This performance difference has been most consistently manifested as a large decrease in reaction time (RT) in VGPs compared to NVGPs.  However, there are many possible mechanistic explanations for a reduction in RT (increased sensitivity to the stimulus, reduced criteria, faster motor execution) that cannot be easily teased apart by examining the research to date.  Here we present data from two sensory integration tasks, a standard motion coherence paradigm (Newsome et al, 1989) and a novel auditory localization task, which in combination with a model developed by Palmer et al (2005), allows for a more explicit test of the relative contribution of sensitivity, criteria, and motor execution in generating the differences observed between VGPs and NVGPs.  In both the motion and auditory tasks, VGPs demonstrated a large reduction in RT compared to NVGPs with equivalent accuracy.  This pattern was well captured by the model with an increase in the rate of information accrual as well as a decrease in criteria in the VGPs.  A set of follow-up experiments adds further support to the hypothesis that VGPs acquire sensory information more rapidly than NVGPs.
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