Dr. Sara Incera
We analyzed the effects of gaming habits on attentional control. We examined gaming habits along a continuum, rather than dichotomizing them between gamers and non-gamers. We investigated the effects of gaming habits on attentional control using a self-report questionnaire about video game habits and a cognitive measure (the Flanker task). We recruited 107 undergraduate students enrolled at Eastern Kentucky University. Participants first responded to the gaming habits questionnaire and then completed the Flanker task. Importantly, we found that participants who play video-games more hours a week performed better in the Flanker task than participants who play video-games fewer hours a week. We also found that the system used (e.g., “Computer” vs. “Console”) did influence reaction times. However, we found that the genre of the video game (e.g., “Action” vs. “Strategy”) did not predict performance in the Flanker task. Spending more hours playing video-games -independently of the specific game played- relates to enhanced levels of attentional control. These results are important because playing video games, an activity that is engaging and entertaining, can be a way to enhance attentional control in the general population. Higher levels of attentional control can translate to lower levels of cognitive decline later in life.