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Action video game playing enhances vision and perceptual decision making

Dr. Daphne Bavelier

Tuesday, September 23, 2008, 01:00pm - 02:00pm

University of Rochester, Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences and of Imaging Science

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Although the adult brain is far from being fixed, the types of experience that promote learning and brain plasticity in adulthood are still poorly understood. Surprisingly, the very act of playing action video games appear to lead to widespread enhancements in visual skills in young adults. Action video game players have been shown to outperform their non-action-game playing peers on a variety of sensory and attentional tasks. They search for a target in a cluttered environment more efficiently, are able to track more objects at once and process rapidly fleeting images more accurately. This performance difference has also been noted in choice reaction time tasks with video game players manifesting a large decrease in reaction time as compared to their non-action-game playing peers. A common mechanism may be at the source of this wide range of skill improvement. In particular, improvement in performance following action video game play can be captured by more efficient integration of sensory information, or in other words, a more faithful Bayesian inference step, suggesting that action gamers may have learned to learn.

Dr. Daphne Bavelier