Faster Visual Information Processing in Video Gamers is associated with EEG Alpha Amplitude Modulation

Hilla, Yannik, von Mankowski, Joerg, Foecker, Julia and Sauseng, Paul (2020) Faster Visual Information Processing in Video Gamers is associated with EEG Alpha Amplitude Modulation. Frontiers in Psychology: Human-Media Interaction, 11 . p. 3333. ISSN 1664-1078

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.599788

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Faster Visual Information Processing in Video Gamers is associated with EEG Alpha Amplitude Modulation
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Abstract

Video gaming, specifically action video gaming, seems to improve a range of cognitive functions. The basis for these improvements may be attentional control in conjunction with reward-related learning to amplify the execution of goal-relevant actions while suppressing goal-irrelevant actions. Given that EEG alpha power reflects inhibitory processing, a core component of attentional control, it might represent the electrophysiological substrate of cognitive improvement in video gaming. The aim of this study was to test whether non-video gamers (NVGs), non-action video gamers (NAVGs) and action video gamers (AVGs) exhibit differences in EEG alpha power, and whether this might account for differences in visual information processing as operationalized by the theory of visual attention (TVA). 40 male volunteers performed a visual short-term memory paradigm where they memorized shape stimuli depicted on circular stimulus displays at six different exposure durations while their EEGs were recorded. Accuracy data was analyzed using TVA-algorithms. There was a positive correlation between the extent of post-stimulus EEG alpha power attenuation (10-12 Hz) and speed of information processing across all participants. Moreover, both EEG alpha power attenuation and speed of information processing were modulated by an interaction between group affiliation and time on task, indicating that video gamers showed larger EEG alpha power attenuations and faster information processing over time than NVGs – with AVGs displaying the largest increase. An additional regression analysis affirmed this observation. From this we concluded that EEG alpha power might be a promising neural substrate for explaining cognitive improvement in video gaming.

Keywords:Theory of Visual Attention (TVA), attentional control, short-term memory, learning to learn, cognitive improvement in video gamers, knowledge system
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
C Biological Sciences > C850 Cognitive Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:43102
Deposited On:11 Dec 2020 10:42

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