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Table 3 The summary of research papers presented to describe the association between VG playing and cognitive function

From: Commercial video games and cognitive functions: video game genres and modulating factors of cognitive enhancement

StudiesStudy design, participantsMeasuresAssociated cognitive functionsAdditional information of results
[26]Cross-sectional, 88 university students (NFemale = 50)
(1) Console/computer VG players (N = 34)
(2) Mobile VG players (N = 25)
(3) Non-VG players
Cognitive tests (e.g. Go-No-Go task, N-back task)Attention, WMNo enhancement in inhibition
Similar enhancement in cognitive function between players using different gaming platforms
[19]Intervention (15 h of training), young adults
(1) WM-REAS 1 (N = 43, NFemale = 12)
(2) WM-REAS 2 (N = 40, NFemale = 11)
(3) AC (N = 44, NFemale = 12)
(4) NC (N = 43, NFemale = 12)
Cognitive tests (e.g. Logical memory task, N-back task, Task switching)
Behavior rating inventory of executive function
AttentionNo improvement in WM capacity and fluid intelligence
[70]Intervention (10 h of FPS training), university students without gaming experience
(1) FPS group (N = 16)
(2) Non-AVG control group (N = 6)
EEG recording during the attention visual field task that was completed before and after the training interventionAttentionThe modification of neural activity supporting spatial selective attention through FPS training
Substantial improvement of selective attention in high-performing players in FPS group
[30]Cross-sectional and intervention (1 h of AVG training), 29 males
(1) LoL experts who were recognized as skilled-players with more than 2 years of AVG experience (N = 15)
(2) Non-experts
EEG recording during the useful field of vision task that was completed before and after the AVG trainingAttentionBetter selective attention, attentional control and top-down modulated attentional allocation in LoL experts than in non-experts before the training
Improved selective attention and attentional control in non-experts after AVG training
No enhancement in accuracy in both groups
[31]Cross-sectional, 119 participants
(1) Players who reported to engage in AVGs or adventure games for more than 4 h weekly
(2) Non-VG players
Attentional blink tasks with global orientation and local orientationAttentionFaster recovery from attentional blink in VG players than in non-VG players when both global and local elements were attended
[32]Intervention, 75 university students whose initial weekly gaming duration was less than 1 h (NFemale = 47)
(1) Hidden-object VG group (N = 15)
(2) Memory matrix VG group (N = 14)
(3) Match-3 VG group (N = 14)
(4) AVG group (N = 16)
SG group
Cognitive tasks (e.g. attentional blink task, visual search/spatial memory task, complex span task)Attention, WMEnhanced recovery from attentional blink, improved skill to track multiple objects and better cognitive control to filter irrelevant stimuli out in AVG group
Enhanced visual search in hidden-object VG group, memory matrix VG group and match-3 VG group
Improved spatial WM in hidden-object VG group and memory matrix VG group
Improved complex verbal WM in match-3 VG group and AVG group
[34]Cross-sectional, 26 male young adults (age range = 18–26 years)
(1) AVG players whose weekly playing time was more than 5 h (N = 12)
(2) Non-VG players including players of non-AVGs
fMRI scanning during attention taskAttentionReduced activation of MT/MST in AVG players in response to moving distracters
Decreased recruitment of the fronto-parietal network (e.g. bilateral superior and middle occipital gyri, left inferior temporal gyrus), in AVG players compared to non-VG players
[33]Cross-sectional, 131 participants (age range = 7–22 years)
(1) AVG players (N = 56)
(2) Non-VG players including players of non-AVGs
Attentional network testAttentionImproved allocation of attention without speed-accuracy trade-off in AVG players compared to non-VG players
[36]Cross-sectional, 58 male adults
(1) AVG experts who were recognized as regional or national champions with more than 6 years of AVG experience (N = 28)
(2) Amateur players of AVGs
MRI scanningAttention, visuo-spatial functionIncreased global and local plasticity of white matter network in the prefrontal network, the sensori-motor network and the limbic system in AVG experts compared to amateur players
[38]Cross-sectional, 40 adults who were older than 60 years
(1) VG players (N = 20)
(2) Non-VG players
fMRI scanning during attentional network taskAttentionBetter task performance in VG players than in non-VG players
Higher activation in fronto-parietal regions (i.e. right DLPFC, left supramarginal gyrus, right angular gyrus, right precuneus, left paracentral lobule), right inferior temporal gyrus and left lingual gyrus in VG players than in non-VG players
Higher FC between left paracentral lobule and right hippocampus, between left supramarginal gyrus and right DLPFC but lower FC between right precuneus and angular gyrus in VG players than in non-VG players
[28]Intervention (30 h of training), 34 male university students
(1) AVG training group (N = 17)
(2) Control group playing SG
visual WM tasks (e.g. change detection task) and complex span WM taskWMImproved accuracy of visual WM in AVG training group compared to SG training group
No enhancement of complex span VWM in AVG training group
[42]Cross-sectional, Experiment 1:
(1) 48 AVG players whose weekly playing time was more than 5 h (NFemale = 5)
(2) 49 non-VG players including AVG players whose weekly playing time was less than 1 h (NFemale = 6)
Experiment 2:
47 participants from Experiment 1
(1) 24 AVG players (NFemlae = 2)
(2) Non-VG players (NFemlae = 1)
Change detection task with more focus on the accuracy in both experimentsWMImproved WM in AVG players compared to non-VG players regardless of the encoding time and better task performance in encoding more items
Improved visual WM in AVG players compared to non-VG players regardless of the complexity of visual stimuli that were required to encode
[43]Cross-sectional, 52 young adults (NFemale = 4)
(1) FPS players (N = 26)
(2) Non-VG players
Cognitive tasks (e.g. stop-signal task, N-back task)WMBetter skill to monitor and update information that is relevant with task in FPS players than in non-VG players
Comparable inhibitory control in both groups
[44]Cross-sectional, 44 male adults
(1) AVG players whose weekly gaming time was more than 3 and 4 h (N = 24)
(2) Non-VG players including players of other VG genres
Multiple identity tracking task, color wheel task, useful field of view taskWMBetter skill to track multiple stimuli and to have precise representation of the stimuli (i.e. color, location) in AVG players than in non-VG players
[45]Cross-sectional
(1) Expert VG players (N = 11)
(2) Non-VG players (N = 10)
and Intervention (21.5 h of training), 82 adults whose weekly playing time was less than 1 h
(1) AVG training group (N = 20)
(2) SVG training group (N = 23)
(3) TG training group (N = 20)
(4) Control group
Visual and attentional tasks (e.g. multiple object tracking, VSTM), spatial processing and sptial memory tasks (e.g. mental rotation), executive control and reasoning tasks (e.g. task switching, tower of London)Attention, WMBetter attentional function, WM, task switching and spatial processing in expert VG players than in non-VG players
Comparable performance between training groups and control group
[46]Cross-sectional
(1) AVG experts with more than 4 years of AVG experience (N = 23)
(2) Amateur AVG players whose AVG experience was less than 1 year (N = 22)
Cognitive tests (i.e. N-back task, spatial memory task) and resting-state fMRI scanningAttention, WMImprovement in global and nodal plasticity in salience network (e.g. ACC) and central executive network (e.g. DLPFC) in AVG experts than in amateur AVG players
Enhanced FC between these networks in AVG experts compared to amateur AVG players
[48]Correlational, 62 male participants with varied VG experience (mean age = 28 years)Resting-state MRI scanningVisuo-spatial functionThe positive association of VG experience with GM volume in bilateral entorhinal cortex and left occipital lobe/interior parietal lobe
Positive influence of logic/puzzle VGs on entorhinal GM volume but negative influence of AVGs on the GM volume in entorhinal cortex
[51]Cross-sectional, 59 young adults (NFemale = 13)
(1) AVG players whose weekly playing time was more than 6 h (N = 26, NFemale = 4)
(2) Non-VG players
Cognitive tasks (i.e. virtual maze task, visual attention task)Visuo-spatial functionThe usage of response strategy in 80% of AVG players during the navigation of a virtual maze
[52]Intervention (2-month of training), 48 young adults
(1) AVG training group (N = 23, NFemale = 17)
(2) Control group (NFemale = 17)
MRI scanning, cognitive tests (e.g. tunnel task) before and after the trainingVisuo-spatial functionIncreased GM volume in right hippocampus, right DLPFC, bilateral cerebellum in AVG training group compared to control group
The association of increased volume in hippocampus with the adoption of allocentric orientation strategy
[53]Cross-sectional, 62 male adults
(1) RTS players whose weekly playing time was more than 6 h (N = 31)
(2) Non-VG players who played RTS for less than 6 h weekly with less than 8 h of weekly VG experience
Operation span task, MRI scanningVisuo-spatial functionEnhanced connectivity within occipital (e.g. left middle occipital gyrus) and parietal regions (e.g. superior parietal lobule) in RTS players compared to non-VG players
Enhanced local efficiency in these regions in RTS players
The positive association of RTS experience with alterations in the networks
[54]Correlational, 152 adolescents who aged 14 years (NFemale = 80)MRI scanningVisuo-spatial functionThe positive association of VG playing duration with cortical thickness in left DLPFC and left FEF when possible confounders (e.g. sex, age, scanner, socioeconomic status) were controlled
[55]Cross-sectional
(1) VG Players who played SVG or AVG for more than 15 h weekly (N = 17, NFemale = 4)
(2) Non-VG players whose weekly playing time was less than 4 h (N = 17, NFemale = 4)
Weather prediction task, MRI scanningProbabilistic learningBetter performance of categorization under the uncertainty in VG players than in non-VG players
Highly activated brain regions (i.e. hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrus, precuneus, thalamus, attention-based areas (e.g. occipital visual areas), frontal gyrus and anterior cingulate gyrus) in VG players than in non-VG players
[56](1) Cross-sectional and intervention (50 h of training), AVG players
(2) Non-VG players
(2.1) AVG training group
(2.2) Control group
Visual motion direction discrimination task, auditory tone location discrimination taskProbabilistic learningMore efficient use of both visual and auditory information in AVG players than in non-VG players
Enhanced probabilistic inference in AVG training group
[57]Intervention (8 h of training), 77 university students (age range = 18–22 years, NFemale = 44)
(1) Puzzle VG training group (N = 42)
(2) Cognitive training program group
Cognitive tasks for problem solving skills, spatial skills and conscientiousness (e.g. Insight test, mental rotation test, picture comparison task)Problem solving skillsImproved task performance after the training only in puzzle VG training group
Better performance in problem solving skills, spatial skills and conscientiousness in puzzle VG training group than in cognitive training program group
[25]4-year longitudinal, 1492 adolescents who took part in at least 2 surveys over the four waves (mean age = 13 years and 10 months at the beginning of the study, NFemale = 758)Self reports of problem solving skills, academic gradesProblem solving skillsLongitudinal relationship of strategic VG playing with self-reported skills to solve problems
Indirect association of strategic VG playing with better academic performance through the improved problem solving skills
[58]Intervention (14 h of training), 72 university students
(1) VG training group (N = 36)
(2) Control group
Self-reports for graduate skills including adaptability, communication skill, resourcefulness (e.g. communicative adaptability scale)Problem solving skillsEnhanced communication skills, adaptability and resourcefulness in VG training group compared to control group
[59]Correlational, 479 adolescents in high schools (NFemale = 209)Problem solving test, self-reported academic performanceProblem solving skillsNo association between VG playing behaviors (e.g. VG genres) and problem solving skills despite small significant association of higher problem solving skills with the frequency of console gaming and the experience of computer gaming
No association of academic performance with VG genres and self-reported gaming skills
[62]Intervention, 8 university studentsVirtual ethnography tracking the process of learning, tutorial examsL2 learningMore active usage of English
Increased patience in reading
Higher level of motivation for the communication with other players
  1. Notes. WM-REAS 1 stands for WM-reasoning group, WM-REAS 2 stands for adaptive WM-reasoning group, AC stands for active control group, NC stands for no-contact/passive control group, EEG stands for electroencephalography, (f)MRI stands for (functional) magnetic resonance imaging, VSTM stands for visual short-term memory, ACC stands for anterior cingulate cortex