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Transfer Effects in Experimental Training Studies

To investigate the transfer of video game training to various information-processing skills, we recoded moderators and conducted additional analyses of the 46 training studies compiled by Powers and colleagues (2013). Two moderators were recoded: training game type and information-processing domain. Additional meta-analyses of the recoded dataset were conducted in two steps. First, we examined for each game type whether training benefits were observed in each of four broadly defined information-processing domains. For each game type showing a significant effect of training on a given information-processing domain, we examined effects of training on specific subskills within that domain.

Training Game Type

Games were grouped into seven categories based on attributes of the game play, using a coding scheme adapted from Homer, Hayward, Frye, and Plass (2012). The studies included in the meta-analysis are listed in Table 21.1, organized by game type.

Arcade-style games are ones that originated in an arcade and have been revamped for home play, or ones that were designed in the style of arcade games (e.g., Centipede for Atari, Crystal Castles, Donkey Kong, Marble Madness, Pac Man, Sink the Ship, Space Fortress, Zaxxon). Nine of the training studies used arcade-style games.

First-person shooter games (e.g., Call of Duty, Counter Strike, Halo, Medal of Honor, Unreal Tournament) are violent, action games where the player chooses and fires weapons at targets. First-person shooter games create an immersive experience in which continuous play leads to improved performance. Twenty of the training studies used first-person shooter games.

Puzzle (non-Tetris) games comprise maze, logic, and board games (e.g., Portal, Robot Blast, Pharaoh’s Needle, Hamlet [a version of Othello], Factory, Enigmo, Copy Cat) where progressing through the game requires players to solve problems and/ or complete patterns. Six training studies used puzzle games.

Sport/racing games are re-creations of sporting or racing events (e.g., FIFA ‘10, Mario Kart). Four training studies used sport/racing games.

Strategy/role-play games (e.g., Rise of Nations, Stellar 7, World of Warcraft) require players to create long-term strategies to win territory within the task environment. These often violent games take place in virtual worlds where players may sometimes interact with one another in real time across virtual space, and involve strategy and planning over relatively long time frames. Four training studies used strategy/role-play games.

Author(s)

Year

Gaming n

Control n Total n Cohen’s d

Domain

Game

Arcade-Style

Boot et al.

2010

19

19

.179

executive functions perceptual processing

Space Fortress

Clark et al.

1987

7

7

1.869

perceptual processing

Donkey Kong and/or Pac-Man

Dorval & Pepin

1986

38

32

.615

spatial imagery

Zaxxon

Drew & Waters

1986

11

.778

executive functions motor skills

Crystal Castles

Gopher et al.

1994

33

25

.391

motor skills

Space Fortress

Lee et al.

2012

25

25

.276

executive functions perceptual processing

Space Fortress

McSwegin et al.

1988

15

15

.768

motor skills perceptual processing

Sink the Ship, Nightmare Gallery

Orosy-Filders & Allan

1989

10

10

1.181

perceptual processing

Centipede for Atari

Subrahmanyam & Greenfield

1996

28

28

.604

spatial imagery

Marble Madness

First-Person Shooter

Boot

2007

20

19

-.248

executive functions perceptual processing spatial imagery

Medal of Honor

(continued)

Author(s)

Year

Gaming n

Control n Total n

Cohen’s d

Domain

Game

Cohen et al. Exp 1

2008

11

12

.849

perceptual processing

Unreal Tournament

Cohen et al. Exp 2

2008

11

12

.039

perceptual processing

Unreal Tournament

Feng et al. Exp2

2007

10

10

1.345

perceptual processing

Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault

Gagnon

1985

31

27

.156

motor skills spatial imagery

Battle Zone and Targ

Gagnon

1986

30

30

.162

spatial imagery

Battlezone

Green Exp 5

2008

11

12

.431

perceptual processing

Unreal Tournament and Call of Duty

Green & Bavelier Exp 3

2006a

16

16

.498

perceptual processing

Unreal Tournament 2004

Green & Bavelier Exp 2

2006b

9

8

1.097

perceptual processing

Medal of Honor: Allied Assault

Green & Bavelier Exp 2

2007

16

16

.851

perceptual processing

Unreal Tournament 2004

Green et al. Exp 4

2012

19

17

-.176

executive functions

Unreal Tournament Call of Duty

Kearney

2005

14

.809

executive functions

Counter Strike

Li et al. Exp 2

2009

6

7

1.322

perceptual processing

Unreal Tournament 2004 Call of Duty 2

Li et al. Exp 4

2009

13

9

1.093

perceptual processing

Unreal Tournament 2004 Call of Duty 2

Nelson & Strachen Exp 1

2009

10

10

.121

perceptual processing

Unreal Tournament

Nelson & Strachen Exp 2

2009

10

10

.121

perceptual processing

Unreal Tournament

Sanchez

2012

30

30

.236

spatial imagery

Halo

Spence et al.

2009

20

2.780

perceptual processing

Medal of Honor

Valadez & Ferguson

2012

17

17

.274

spatial imagery

Red Dead Redemptions

Wu et al.

2012

16

9

1.631

perceptual processing

Medal of Honor

Puzzle (Non-Tetris)

Masson et al.

2011

25

26

.867

motor skills

Enigmo

McClurg & Chaille

1987

19

19

.380

spatial imagery

Factory

Miller & Kapel

1985

88

.306

executive functions spatial imagery

Robot Blast, Pharaoh’s Needle, Hamlet, 3D Maze, Factory

Nelson & Strachen Exp 1

2009

10

10

-.181

perceptual processing

Portal

Nelson & Strachen Exp 2

2009

10

10

.445

perceptual processing

Portal

Smith et al.

2007

38

36

.465

spatial imagery

Copy-Cat

Sport/Racing

Cherney

2008

10

10

.317

spatial imagery

Antz Extreme Racing (3D)

Fery & Ponserre

2001

40

10

.714

motor skills

Golf

(continued)

Author(s)

Year

Gaming n

Control n

Totaln

Cohen’s d

Domain

Game

O’Leary et al.

2011

36

.029

executive functions

Mario Kart

Valadez & Ferguson

2012

16

.127

spatial imagery

FIFA’10

Strategy/Role-play

Basak et al.

2008

19

20

.214

executive functions perceptual processing spatial imagery

Rise of Nations

Boot

2007

23

19

-.075

executive functions perceptual processing spatial imagery

Rise of Nations

McClurg & Chaille

1987

19

19

.238

spatial imagery

Stellar 7

Whitlock et al.

2012

19

20

.073

executive functions spatial imagery perceptual processing

World of Warcraft

Tetris

Boot

2007

20

19

-.133

executive functions perceptual processing spatial imagery

Tetris

Cherney

2008

11

10

.206

spatial imagery

Tetrus

De Lisi & Cammarano

1996

29

27

.899

spatial imagery

Blockout

De Lisi & Wolford

2002

23

24

1.113

spatial imagery

Tetris

Goldstein et al.

1997

10

12

.641

executive functions

Super Tetris

Okagaki & Frensch Exp 1

1994

15

13

.426

perceptual processing spatial imagery

Tetris

Okagaki & Frensch Exp 2

1994

15

13

.746

spatial imagery

Tetris

Sims & Mayer Ex 2

2002

8

8

-.180

spatial imagery

Tetris

Wii

Maillot et al.

2012

15

15

1.111

executive functions motor skills perceptual processing spatial imagery

Wii Sports, Wii Fit, Mario & Sonic on Olympic Games

O’Leary et al.

2011

36

-.159

executive functions

Wii Fit

Staiano et al.

2012

36

18

.409

executive functions

Wii Sports

Tetris and its variations (e.g., Blockout, Tetrus, Super NES Super Tetris) are tile-matching games involving object rotation. Eight training studies used Tetris-style games.

Wii games (e.g., Wii Sports, Wii Fit) require participants to mimic on-screen actions using an avatar. Three training studies used Wii games.

 
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