Several months ago, Jamie Madigan (Psychology of Video Games) blogged about inattention blindness in video games, his explanation of the phenomenon is spot on and so I suggest you read his blog before continuing. A few earlier months, I picked up an article by David Vallett (University of Nevada Las Vegas) and his colleagues on this very topic. I forgot about it until it showed up again in the newest issue of Computers in Human Behavior.
Early studies of visual attention noted a phenomenon termed ‘inattention blindness’ – the inability of participants to see clear stimuli enter the visual field when attending to something else in that field – and sought to expand the understanding of the phenomenon (Neisser & Becklen, 1975; Simons & Chabris, 1999; Stoffregen, Baldwin, & Flynn, 1993). Other research has focused on the changes to the human brain and cognitive functions as a result of video game play, both in positive and negative contexts (Howard- Jones, Ott, van Leeuwen, and De Smedt (2010)). This quasi-experimental study sought to corroborate some of the findings that tie together these seemingly disparate lines of research, adapting the methodology of the most cited inattention blindness experiment (Simons & Chabris, 1999).
It’s Black Friday and if you want to experience inattention blindness in a videogame, I suggest Papers, Please. Continue reading
The video is relevant to the article’s examination of cognitive flexibility, which is defined in wikipedia “as the mental ability to adjust thinking or attention in response to changing goals and/or environmental stimuli”, and real-time strategy games. Brian Glass (Queen Mary, University of London) and colleagues have an article published in PLoS ONE. Through Jamie Madigan, Brian Glass contacted me about posting his study in my blog and I asked him to write the blog post, which is great so I can have some extra time to write on other studies.
Training in action video games can increase the speed of perceptual processing. However, it is unknown whether video-game training can lead to broad-based changes in higher-level competencies such as cognitive flexibility, a core and neurally distributed component of cognition. To determine whether video gaming can enhance cognitive flexibility and, if so, why these changes occur, the current study compares two versions of a real-time strategy (RTS) game. Using a meta-analytic Bayes factor approach, we found that the gaming condition that emphasized maintenance and rapid switching between multiple information and action sources led to a large increase in cognitive flexibility as measured by a wide array of non-video gaming tasks. Theoretically, the results suggest that the distributed brain networks supporting cognitive flexibility can be tuned by engrossing video game experience that stresses maintenance and rapid manipulation of multiple information sources. Practically, these results suggest avenues for increasing cognitive function.
Their study was also reported in ScienceDaily and CNET. The article can be freely read at the journal website. Continue reading
Heart rate recordings by Ben Lewis-Evans (University of Groningen) who is not involved in this particular study
Annie Lang (Indiana University) is a name every grad student should know. In fact, one of her former graduate student is a faculty member at OSU (Zheng Joyce Wang). She is big because she developed the Limited Capacity Model of Motivated Mediate Message Processing (LC4MP) explaining how we pay attention to information, be it to a conversation, television or videogames. She is also one of the few who studied communication through psychophysiology.
So when her name came up and it involves videogames, then it must be important, although painful to read since I’m weak against psychophysiology research.
This paper reports a study designed to investigate whether playing violent video games elicits the psychological conditions theoretically required for media use to cause aggressive behavior. Specifically, the study was designed to examine whether these games elicit desensitization, facilitation, and disinhibition. Thus, does physiological arousal in response to violent activity decrease over time during game play, and is there a difference between novice and experienced game players (as would be expected if desensitization had occurred)? Do players experience positive emotional states when actively engaged in virtual violent behavior (fighting and killing opponents) – a necessary condition for disinhibition? Do game players frame their motivations in terms of self-defense and game success, as would be necessary for facilitation to occur? The results showed that playing first-person shooters did elicit these requisite patterns of cognitive, physiological, and emotional states. Violent game play is a positive, arousing, present, dominant experience, as required for disinhibition and facilitation. Experienced game players are less aroused than less experienced game players (as required for desensitization). Further, during a game-playing session, exploring and searching for enemies become less arousing, while fighting and killing become more arousing over time (as required by desensitization and facilitation).
Via Jamie Madigan, I learned that Michael Ambinder [see post, see article] whose mentor is Daniel Simons (University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana), another big name in psychology, used psychophysiology to help design videogames, such as Left 4 Dead. Continue reading
Which one has the higher frame rate? (Answer is at the bottom of this post)
Due to my ineptitude at fixing computer problems, I have inadvertently formatted my laptop’s hard drive to oblivion. My digital life is now on hold until I have completed my graduate duties and when I rebuild my laptop. Four months’ worth of internet wisdom I picked up is lost, but my research data are safe. In any case, this event scarred my confidence with computers and this is post will be sadly a short one.
A few weeks ago, I saw a few reddit threads showing the difference of animation rendered at different frame rates. The first one showed a simple example, a second thread was made showing more examples, including the one in this post. Reddit user Regen89 made a valid point: “There is a HUGE difference between watching something at 30 vs 60 frames and playing something at 30 vs 60 fps”. I agree and I recalled a single paper that investigated frame rates and videogame play.
The rate at which frames are rendered in a computer game directly impacts player performance, influencing both the game playability and enjoyability. However, despite the importance of frame rate and the wide-spread popularity of computer games, to the best of our knowledge, there is little quantitative understanding of the effects of frame rate on player performance in computer games. This paper provides a unique classification of actions in First Person Shooter (FPS) games based on interaction requirements that allow qualitative assessment of the impact of frame rates on player performance. This qualitative assessment is supported by quantitative analysis from two large user studies that measure the effects of frame rate on the fundamental player actions in a FPS game. Nearly 100 users participated in the two user study experiments, providing performance and perception data over a range of frame rates commonly studied for video streaming and inclusive of frame rates found in many computer game platforms. In general, the analysis shows that actions that require precise, rapid response, such as shooting, are greatly impacted by degradations in frame rates, while actions with lower precision and response requirements, such as moving, are more tolerant of low frame rates. These insights into the effects of frame rates on player performance can guide players in their choice for game settings and new hardware purchases, and inform system designers in their development of new hardware.
The left one is the higher frame rate at 60 fps.
Claypool, K., & Claypool, M. (2007). On frame rate and player performance in first person shooter games. Multimedia Systems, 13 (1), 3-17. DOI: 10.1007/s00530-007-0081-1
Via Rock, Paper Shotgun, Daphne Bavelier (University of Rochester) gave a TED talk on her research on the brain and action videogames.
Some platform videogames have this special level where the movement controls were reversed as a challenge to the player. The left becomes right, the up is now down. Anyone playing this level for the first time might fail the level several times, but it becomes easier when you later encounter it in other videogames. Super Karoshi and This is the only level are two examples that used that trope.
Matthew Cain (Duke University) and company published their findings in Attention, Perception and Psychophysics.
Video game expertise has been shown to have beneficial effects for visual attention processes, but the effects of action video game playing on executive functions, such as task switching and filtering out distracting information, are less well understood. In the main experiment presented here, video game players (VGPs) and nonplayers (nVGPs) switched between two tasks of unequal familiarity: a familiar task of responding in the direction indicated by an arrow, and a novel task of responding in the opposite direction. nVGPs had large response time costs for switching from the novel task to the familiar task, and small costs for switching from the familiar task to the novel task, replicating prior findings. However, as compared to the nVGPs, VGPs were more facile in switching between tasks, producing overall smaller and more symmetric switching costs, suggesting that experience with action video games produces improvements in executive functioning. In contrast, VGPs and nVGPs did not differ in filtering out the irrelevant flanking stimuli or in remembering details of aurally presented stories. The lack of global differences between the groups suggests that the improved task-switching performance seen in VGPs was not due to differences in global factors, such as VGPs being more motivated than nVGPs.
If I were a pokemon, this line of research would be my weakness. It took me a long time to review this article. Continue reading
My old laptop’s hard drive died, but thankfully I recognized the signs well in advance to back up my data and I am considering in replacing the old drive with a solid state drive. But I have decided to buy a new laptop and I am enjoying the games it can run. Back home in Montreal for R & R, I have been playing ANNO 2070 and in every session I have been reminded that I played for over 2 hours to which I thought I had played for a mere half hour. On the subject of time perception, there are some researchers here and there who investigated time perception and videogame play, but there has been a group led by Simon Grondin (Université Laval) who specialize in time perception research and persisted in their investigation for videogames. This is one of their latest publications.
Children’s time estimation literature lacks of studies comparing prospective and retrospective time estimates of long lasting ecological tasks, i.e. tasks reflecting children’s daily activities. In the present study, children were asked to estimate prospectively or retrospectively how much time they played a video game or read a magazine. Regardless of the task, the results revealed that prospective time estimates were longer than the retrospective ones. Also, time estimates of the video game task were longer, less accurate and more variable than those of the reading task. The results are discussed in the light of the current literature about time estimation of long lasting ecological tasks.
As of this posting, I am currently en route to Columbus for another year as a PhD student. Where did my two weeks went? Continue reading
Was posted in Reddit some time ago.
This article came off the press today and I spotted it during the evening on Ohio State University’s news site while looking for ways to make Qualtrics work the way I want for a summer project. Graduate colleague Jodi Whitaker (Ohio State University) and my advisor Brad Bushman (Ohio State University) has a paper as of this writing, in press at Communication Research.
Video games are excellent training tools. Some writers have called violent video games “murder simulators.” Can violent games “train” a person to shoot a gun? There are theoretical reasons to believe they can. Participants (N = 151) played a violent shooting game with humanoid targets that rewarded headshots, a nonviolent shooting game with bull’s-eye targets, or a nonviolent nonshooting game. Those who played a shooting game used either a pistol-shaped or a standard controller. Next, participants shot a realistic gun at a mannequin. Participants who played a violent shooting game using a pistol-shaped controller had 99% more headshots and 33% more other shots than did other participants. These results remained significant even after controlling for firearm experience, gun attitudes, habitual exposure to violent shooting games, and trait aggressiveness. Habitual exposure to violent shooting games also predicted shooting accuracy. Thus, playing violent shooting video games can improve firing accuracy and can influence players to aim for the head.
If I can finish my paperwork for the summer project, I can move on to someone’s work. Continue reading
There are several concepts related to this youtube video: Transportation (Green, 2004), presence (Lee, 2004), experience in immersion in gaming (Jennette et al., 2008), self-control (Baumeister et al., 2007), attention and self-regulation (Hanif et al., 2011) self-determination theory and nature (Weinstein et al., 2009).
It is a good video and there are many questions that communication scholars have the tools and expertise to answer them.
“Shoot, shoot, dodge, shoot weakspot, boss is killed, objective complete… go to bathroom, pull pants, sit on toilet and poop.”
During my stay at Ohio State, I was intrigued by Roy Baumeister and company’s Strength Model of Self-Control, their work became one of the theoretical bases for my master’s thesis. I skimmed a recent publication of Masicampo and Baumeister’ s who examined how plan making can attenuate the nagging mental strain of unfulfilled goals and fulfilling whatever goals in the experiment seem to liberate your mind for whatever new tasks is given. If those goals went unfulfilled, it would’ve been littering in your mind or in my case, gnawing my attention away.
Markus Denzler (University of Amsterdam) and colleagues examined whatever fulfilling a goal of venting anger through watching, playing a videogame can inhibit aggressive thoughts. I was hoping they examined how objective completion (say kill 50 enemy soldiers or aim for the high score in 15 minutes) might have attenuate aggression, something that would explain Autumn quarter’s results.
Generally, the accessibility of goal-related constructs is inhibited upon goal fulfillment. In line with this notion, the current studies explored whether violent computer games may reduce relative accessibility of aggression if the game involves the fulfillment of an aggressive goal. Specifically, in Study 1, participants who watched a trailer for a violent computer game that fulfilled the goal of venting anger showed less relative accessibility of aggression compared to participants who watched the trailer without goal fulfillment. In Study 2, actually playing a violent computer game to vent anger also decreased the relative accessibility of aggression compared to a control condition in which the game was played without such a goal. Lastly, in Study 3, the relative accessibility of aggression was reduced after playing a violent computer game for participants who reported a high general tendency to vent their anger.
The problem of being a graduate student is that there are so many goals that you lose track of them, but only for them to resurface at the worse possible moment. Continue reading