Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How video games stretch the limits of our visual attention

Date:
November 18, 2010
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
They are often accused of being distracting, but recent research has found that action packed video games like Halo and Call of Duty can enhance visual attention, the ability that allows us to focus on relevant visual information. This growing body of research suggests that action based games could be used to improve military training, educational approaches, and certain visual deficits.

They are often accused of being distracting, but recent research has found that action packed video games like Halo and Call of Duty can enhance visual attention, the ability that allows us to focus on relevant visual information. This growing body of research, reviewed in WIREs Cognitive Science, suggests that action based games could be used to improve military training, educational approaches, and certain visual deficits.

Related Articles


The review, authored by a group led by Dr Daphne Bavelier from the University of Rochester, focused on the impact video games have on visual attention, the mechanism which allows us to select relevant visual information and suppress irrelevant information, allowing us to function in a world made up of infinite visual data.

"Visual attention is crucial to preventing sensory overload, since the brain is constantly faced with an overwhelming amount of visual information," explained Bjorn Hubert-Wallander, the paper's lead author. "It's an ability that is especially emphasized during visually demanding activities such as driving a car or searching for a friend's face in a crowd, so it is not surprising that scientists have long been interested in ways to modify, extend, and enhance the different facets of visual attention."

Paralleling the growing interest in visual attention, the world of video games has developed both technologically and culturally. It is now believed that 68% of American households play video or computer games. Hubert-Wallander, Green, and Bavelier reviewed recent studies by their group but also many other laboratories where gamers and non-gamers had to perform tasks related to visual attention and found that gamers consistently outperformed their non game playing peers.

While gamers were found to outstrip nongamers in these tests, they also found that not all video games provide the same benefits to attention. Fast-paced, action based games that emphasized rapid responses to visual information and required divided attention seemed to be the only ones that affected attention specifically.

"Just as drivers have to focus on the road, other cars, and potential obstacles while ignoring other information, modern action games place heavy attentional demands on players," said Hubert-Wallander. "These games require players to aim and shoot accurately in the center of the screen while continuously tracking other enemies and fast moving objects."

Training studies have also shown improvements in the visual attention of non-gamers given experience playing these video games, establishing that it is the actual video game play that is causing the benefits. This finding that video games can enhance visual attention abilities may have implications for military training and broader education, as well as clinical rehabilitation programs for conditions such as amblyopia.

"At the core of these action video game-induced improvements appears to be a remarkable enhancement in the ability to flexibly and precisely control attention, a finding that could have a variety of real-world applications," concluded Shawn Green, one of the co-authors. "For example, those in professions that demand "super-normal" visual attention, such as fighter pilots, would benefit enormously from enhanced visual attention, as their performance and lives depend on their ability to react quickly and accurately to primarily visual information."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bjorn Hubert-Wallander, C. Shawn Green and Daphne Bavelier. Stretching the limits of visual attention: the case of action video games. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 2010; DOI: 10.1002/wcs.116

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "How video games stretch the limits of our visual attention." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101117194409.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2010, November 18). How video games stretch the limits of our visual attention. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101117194409.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "How video games stretch the limits of our visual attention." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101117194409.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

European Parliament Might Call For Google's Break-Up

European Parliament Might Call For Google's Break-Up

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) This is the latest development in an antitrust investigation accusing Google of unfairly prioritizing own products and services in search results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Nintendo Making A Comeback With 'Super Smash Bros.'?

Is Nintendo Making A Comeback With 'Super Smash Bros.'?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Nintendo released new "Super Smash Bros." Friday, and it's getting great reviews. Could this mean a comeback for the gaming company? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NSA Director: China Can Damage US Power Grid

NSA Director: China Can Damage US Power Grid

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) China and "one or two" other countries are capable of mounting cyberattacks that would shut down the electric grid and other critical systems in parts of the United States, according to Adm. Michael Rogers, director of the National Security Agency and hea Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins