Games and Learning/Topics/Epistemology/Neurocognition

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Dye, M. W.; Green, C. S. & Bavelier, D. (2009), 'Increasing Speed of Processing With Action Video Games', Current Directions in Psychological Science 18 (6), 321-326.

In many everyday situations, speed is of the essence. However, fast decisions typically mean more mistakes. To this day, it remains unknown whether reaction times can be reduced with appropriate training, within one individual, across a range of tasks, and without compromising accuracy. Here we review evidence that the very act of playing action video games significantly reduces reaction times without sacrificing accuracy. Critically, this increase in speed is observed across various tasks beyond game situations. Video gaming may therefore provide an efficient training regimen to induce a general speeding of perceptual reaction times without decreases in accuracy of performance.

More papers:

Biederman, I. & Vessel, E. A. (2006), 'Perceptual Pleasure and the Brain', American Scientist 94 (3), 247-253. scribd / pdf

From hand-held DVD players to hundred-inch plasma screens, much of today's technology is driven by the human appetite for pleasure through visual and auditory stimulation. What creates this appetite? Neuropsychologists have found that visual input activates receptors in the parts of the brain associated with pleasure and reward, and that the brain associates new images with old while also responding strongly to new ones. Using functional MRI imaging and other findings, they are exploring how human beings are "infovores" whose brains love to learn. Children may enjoy Sesame Street's fast pace because they get a "click of comprehension" from each brief scene.

Feng, J.; Spence, I. & Pratt, J. (2007), 'Playing an Action Video Game Reduces Gender Difference in Spatial Cognition', Psychological Science 18 (10), 850-855.

We demonstrate a previously unknown gender difference in the distribution of spatial attention, a basic capacity that supports higher-level spatial cognition. More remarkably, we found that playing an action video game can virtually eliminate this gender difference in spatial attention and simultaneously decrease the gender disparity in mental rotation ability, a higher-level process in spatial cognition. After only 10 hr of training with an action video game, subjects realized substantial gains in both spatial attention and mental rotation, with women benefiting more than men. Control subjects who played a non-action game showed no improvement. Given that superior spatial skills are important in the mathematical and engineering sciences, these findings have practical implications for attracting men and women to these fields.