Not so fast: Rethinking the effects of action video games on attentional capacity
Article first published online: 15 MAR 2011
© 2011 The Australian Psychological Society
Australian Journal of Psychology
Volume 63, Issue 4, pages 224–231, December 2011
How to Cite
Irons, J. L., Remington, R. W. and McLean, J. P. (2011), Not so fast: Rethinking the effects of action video games on attentional capacity. Australian Jnl of Psychology, 63: 224–231. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-9536.2011.00001.x
- Issue published online: 2 DEC 2011
- Article first published online: 15 MAR 2011
- Received 3 November 2010. Accepted for publication 8 November 2010.
- video games;
- visual processing
Considerable excitement has been generated by recent studies showing that video gaming alters fundamental aspects of attention. We tested the claim that people who frequently play action video games (video game players (VGPs)) have a greater capacity of attention than those who rarely play video games (non-video game players (NVGPs)). We first attempted to replicate previous findings by comparing VGPs and NVGPs on a flanker compatibility task (Experiment 1). In contrast with previous studies, VGPs did not demonstrate greater intrusion from distractors, calling into question the reliability of previous findings. In Experiment 2, we manipulated the eccentricity of flankers in an Eriksen flanker task to examine the extent to which VGPs and NVGPs processed irrelevant peripheral stimuli. No attentional differences emerged in the conditions tested, with both groups displaying compatibility effects at all eccentricities. Together these results raise doubts that video game playing increases attentional capacity.