Meaningful Play 2016 at Michigan State University

Paper Information

TitleExamining Specific Features of Video Games Which May Improve Task Switching
Presenter(s)Nigel Robb and Kate A. Woodcock
SessionGames and Cognition
TimeThursday, October 20, 1:30p-2:30p
LocationLake Ontario
FormatPaper Presentation
DescriptionThe ability to switch between two tasks, or to switch between two ways of thinking about a set of stimuli, is one which we rely on heavily in our everyday lives and employment. This task switching ability is an executive function: a high-level cognitive process that coordinates and modulates other cognitive processes. Skill in task switching is positively associated with academic achievement and intelligence. Cognitive tests have been developed to measure task switching, and such tests regularly show that switching incurs a cost: an initial reduction in performance on the new task. Improving task switching so that such costs are reduced could have wide benefits for the general population. Additionally, specific deficits in task switching are shown in individuals with several neurodevelopmental disorders and may be linked to challenging behaviour in these disorders, suggesting that improving task switching could form an important part of a successful intervention strategy. A recent study found that, among novice players, those who trained on the action video games Unreal Tournament 2004 (UT2004) and Call of Duty 2 (COD2) showed greater improvements in task switching than those who trained on the life simulation game The Sims 2 (including the expansion pack The Sims 2: Open for Business). This suggests that playing UT2004 and COD2 involves engaging in activities that lead to greater improvements in task switching than playing The Sims 2. This study is one of several that have demonstrated greater improvements in task switching following training on action video games, as opposed to other kinds of video game.
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