Study: Game Playing Improves Visual Awareness

April 13, 2010 -

A psychology student at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah recently conducted a study of gamers which showed that playing games helped to increase their visual response and alertness.

Christian Peterson, a senior at the school, put 50 students through Halo 3 sessions that ran 20, 40 or 60 minutes, reports the Deseret News. The participants had already taken a visual-responsiveness test before their gaming session, and were asked to take it again post-Halo 3.

Peterson reported on the results, “We found a great increase in ability to spot changes in visual field after playing the video game.” Visual response and alertness also “increased significantly” when comparing pre and post-game visual test results. The length of time spent playing Halo 3 appeared to have no effect on visual test results.

Peterson, who called himself “somewhat of a gamer,” will present the findings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. today as part of the 2010 Undergraduate Research Posters event.


Comments

Re: Study: Game Playing Improves Visual Awareness

To be fair, we should pick just as much at the methodology of studies that show positive effects from gaming, as those that show negative effects.

First thing that jumps out at me here is that it doesn't look like they had a control group (people that didn't play video games between the two tests.)  That could easily skew the results.

Re: Study: Game Playing Improves Visual Awareness

I have to agree.  I don't see much here besides evidence of a "testing" effect.  However we are talking about an undergraduate student.  I hope he'll continue on to develop "bigger and better" studies.

Re: Study: Game Playing Improves Visual Awareness

I'm not even sure it's a worthwhile study... i mean if you could prove long term visual awareness then yes i see the benefit, but not in the short term. to me, it sounds more like they were more visually aware right after playing games because they were more responsive. The games was making them look for lots of different movements and respond quickly , so just after playing the games their brains are still in that same mind set... if you give them enough time to rest and relax, their brains would probably go back to normal

Seems like it may just be the case that people are more visually aware while they are playing games, not that playing games improves visual awareness

Re: Study: Game Playing Improves Visual Awareness

Or as Matthew said, when you factor in the quote "The length of time spent playing Halo 3 appeared to have no effect on visual test results." that could mean that it wasn't Halo 3 that made them score better, but it was doing the test twice.

Re: Study: Game Playing Improves Visual Awareness

 From the sounds of it, the people they tested were their own controls.  They took one test before playing games, and then one after.  More scored better the second time around.  However, chances are they could have scored better because they took the test a second time rather than any video game influence.

Re: Study: Game Playing Improves Visual Awareness

And that is why they need a control group that doesn't play any games between tests. To rule out that taking the test a second time was enough to improve scores.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Study: Game Playing Improves Visual Awareness

Given that

a) "After the test, students were encouraged to play Halo 3, a popular first-person shooter game, for 20, 40 and 60 minutes, depending on the participant."

and

b) "The length of time spent playing Halo 3 appeared to have no effect on visual test results."

The wording in a) seems to suggest that *nobody* took the test a second time without playing the game at all, and so there was no control group.

So, everyone improved the second time they did the test, and b) suggests that the level of improvement was independent of how long they spent playing Halo 3. Most logical conclusion? Taking the test twice improves your score, playing Halo does not.

Re: Study: Game Playing Improves Visual Awareness

Matthew is on the right track. Honestly, this test was done just as poorly as many of the anti-gaming ones, and I just couldn't use it as evidence that gaming is not harmful (at least, not with a good conscience).

Re: Study: Game Playing Improves Visual Awareness

 I might just question that the second test may have been easier than the first...

Re: Study: Game Playing Improves Visual Awareness

Giving that spotting a small detail off in the distance can mean the difference between victory and defeat in such games, I can see this being true. And in solving puzzles you do need ot keep an eye out for the solution, as in many cases it's not too obvious.

Re: Study: Game Playing Improves Visual Awareness

Cue the fundies calling the study and the guy reporting on it biased in favour of the videogame industry.

Re: Study: Game Playing Improves Visual Awareness

Nah, it'll be a certain someone taking this as an admission that his claim of video games giving their players some kind of mental heads up display is right.

 
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Mattsworknameargue that it's wrong, but then please admit it's wrong on ALL Fronts07/29/2015 - 2:06am
MattsworknameTechnoGeek: It's actually NOT, but it is a method used all across the specturm. See Rush limbaugh, MSNBC, Shawn hannity, etc etc, how many compagns have been brought up to try and shut them down by going after there advertisers. It's fine if you wanna07/29/2015 - 2:05am
Mattsworknamediscussed, while not what I liked and not the methods I wanted to see used, were , in a sense, the effort of thsoe game consuming masses to hold what they felt was supposed to be there press accountable for what many of them felt was Betrayal07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAs we say, the gamers are dead article set of a firestorm among the game consuming populace, who, ideally, were the intended audiance for sites like Kotaku, Polygon, Et all. As such, the turn about on them and the attacking of them, via the metods07/29/2015 - 2:03am
MattsworknameAndrew: Thats kind fo the issue at hand, Accountable is a matter of context. For a media group, it means accountable to its reader. to a goverment, to it's voters and tax payer, to a company, to it's share holders.07/29/2015 - 2:02am
Andrew EisenAnd again, you keep saying "accountable." What exactly does that mean? How is Gamasutra not accounting for the editorial it published?07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - I disagree with your 9:12 and 9:16 comment. There are myriad ways to address content you don't like. And they're far easier to execute in the online space.07/28/2015 - 11:47pm
Andrew EisenMatt - Banning in the legal sense? Not that I'm aware but there have certainly been groups of gamers who have worked towards getting content they don't like removed.07/28/2015 - 11:45pm
DanJAlexander's editorial was and continues to be grossly misrepresented by her opponents. And if you don't like a site, you stop reading it - same as not watching a tv show. They get your first click, but not your second.07/28/2015 - 11:40pm
TechnogeekYes, because actively trying to convince advertisers to influence the editorial content of media is a perfectly acceptable thing to do, especially for a movement that's ostensibly about journalistic ethics.07/28/2015 - 11:02pm
Mattsworknameanother07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
Mattsworknameyou HAVE TO click on it. So they get the click revenue weather you like what it says or not. as such, the targeting of advertisers most likely seemed like a good course of action to those who wanted to hold those media groups accountable for one reason07/28/2015 - 9:16pm
MattsworknameBut, when you look at online media, it's completely different, with far more options, but far few ways to address issues that the consumers may have. In tv, you don't like what they show, you don't watch. But in order to see if you like something online07/28/2015 - 9:12pm
MattsworknameIn tv, and radio, ratings are how it works. your ratings determine how well you do and how much money you an charge.07/28/2015 - 9:02pm
Mattsworknameexpect to do so without someone wanting to hold you to task for it07/28/2015 - 9:00pm
MattsworknameMecha: I don't think anyone was asking for Editoral changes, what they wanted was to show those media groups that if they were gonna bash there own audiance, the audiance was not gonna take it sitting down. you can write what you want, but you can't07/28/2015 - 8:56pm
MattsworknameAndrew, Im asking as a practical question, Have gamers, as a group, ever asked for a game, or other item, to be banned. Im trying to see if theres any cases anyone else remembers cause I cant find or remember any.07/28/2015 - 8:55pm
Andrew EisenAs mentioned, Gamasutra isn't a gaming site, it's a game industry site. I don't feel it's changed its focus at all. Also, I don't get the sense that the majority of the people who took issue with that one opinion piece were regular readers anyway.07/28/2015 - 8:43pm
MattsworknameDitto kotaku, Gawker, VOX, Polygon, ETC07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
MechaTama31So, between pulling a game from one chain of stores, and forcing editorial changes to a media source, only one of them strikes you as being on the edge of censorship, and it's the game one?07/28/2015 - 8:41pm
 

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