Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Videogamers no better at talking while driving

Date:
June 13, 2012
Source:
Duke University
Summary:
No matter how much time you've spent training your brain to multitask by playing "Call of Duty," you're probably no better at talking on the phone while driving than anybody else, according to a new study.

Students in the trial drove the video game "TrackMania" while answering trivia questions over a speaker phone.
Credit: Image courtesy of Duke University

No matter how much time you've spent training your brain to multitask by playing "Call of Duty," you're probably no better at talking on the phone while driving than anybody else.

A study by the Visual Cognition Laboratory at Duke University wanted to see whether gamers who have spent hours in front of a screen simultaneously watching the map, scanning doorways for bad guys and listening to the chatter of their fellow gamers could answer questions and drive at the same time. The finding: not so much.

"It doesn't matter how much you've trained your brain, we just aren't set up to do this," said Stephen Mitroff, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience and member of the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences.

The lab study measured the performance of 60 undergraduate students on three visual tasks, and then repeated each task while the subject answered Trivial Pursuit questions over a speakerphone. "This was meant to mostly mimic a cell phone conversation," Mitroff says without a trace of irony.

The tasks were the video driving game "TrackMania," a standard multiple-object tracking test that is something like a video version of a shell game, and a timed paper-and-pencil administration of hidden pictures puzzles from Highlights Magazine.

The gamers, all men who regularly played first-person shooter games, were significantly better at driving TrackMania with a steering wheel and pedals than the non-gamers, beating them by about 10 seconds on average. The non-gamers, 19 men and seven women, did just as well as the gamers on the multiple moving objects test and the Highlights puzzles.

It was difficult, acknowledges lead author Sarah Donahue who recently completed her Ph.D. at Duke, to find non-gaming men and gaming women on a college campus.

Performance on the driving test was most harmed by talking on the phone, though it also declined on the other two tests. The gamers drove the racetrack about 2 seconds slower while multitasking, dropping from a mean of 101.7 seconds to 103 seconds. The non-gamers were 10 seconds slower, dropping from 112.9 seconds to 122.5.

In multiple-object tracking and the image search puzzle, both gamers and non-gamers saw similar declines in performance while multi-tasking.

So for most people, Mitroff says, multitasking is probably a bad idea. But there is one small exception. A 2010 study by University of Utah psychologists Jason Watson and David Strayer found five people among 200 undergraduates who truly could multitask without a loss of performance, whom they dubbed "supertaskers."

But the other 97.5 percent of humanity presumably includes the erratic guy you were commuting behind this morning, and you, for that matter.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University. The original article was written by Karl Leif Bates. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sarah E. Donohue, Brittany James, Andrea N. Eslick, Stephen R. Mitroff. Cognitive pitfall! Videogame players are not immune to dual-task costs. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 2012; DOI: 10.3758/s13414-012-0323-y

Cite This Page:

Duke University. "Videogamers no better at talking while driving." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120613102424.htm>.
Duke University. (2012, June 13). Videogamers no better at talking while driving. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120613102424.htm
Duke University. "Videogamers no better at talking while driving." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120613102424.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Japanese Scientists Unveil Floating 3D Projection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 20, 2014) Scientists in Tokyo have demonstrated what they say is the world's first 3D projection that floats in mid air. A laser that fires a pulse up to a thousand times a second superheats molecules in the air, creating a spark which can be guided to certain points in the air to shape what the human eye perceives as an image. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google To Protect Against Piracy ... At A Cost

Google To Protect Against Piracy ... At A Cost

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Google is changing its search-engine results to protect content producers from piracy — for a price. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What We Know About Microsoft's Rumored Smartwatch

What We Know About Microsoft's Rumored Smartwatch

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Microsoft will reportedly release a smartwatch that works across different mobile platforms, has a two-day battery life and tracks heart rate. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Spotify Family A Great Deal Or Catching Up?

Is Spotify Family A Great Deal Or Catching Up?

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Spotify Family lets you add a family member to your account for half price. Although users are excited, it's a move competitors have already made. Video provided by Newsy
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