Novel 3-D action video game mechanics reveal differentiable cognitive constructs in young players, but not in old

Tomihiro Ono, Takeshi Sakurai, Shinichi Kasuno, Toshiya Murai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Video game research predominantly uses a “one game-one function” approach—researchers deploy a constellation of task-like minigames to span multiple domains or consider a complex video game to essentially represent one cognitive construct. To profile cognitive functioning in a more ecologically valid setting, we developed a novel 3-D action shooter video game explicitly designed to engage multiple cognitive domains. We compared gameplay data with results from a web-based cognitive battery (WebCNP) for 158 participants (aged 18–74). There were significant negative main effects on game performance from age and gender, even when controlling for prior video game exposure. Among younger players, game mechanics displayed significant and unique correlations to cognitive constructs such as aim accuracy with attention and stealth with abstract thinking within the same session. Among older players the relation between game components and cognitive domains was unclear. Findings suggest that while game mechanics within a single game can be deconstructed to correspond to existing cognitive metrics, how game mechanics are understood and utilized likely differs between the young and old. We argue that while complex games can be utilized to measure distinct cognitive functions, the translation scheme of gameplay to cognitive function should not be one-size-fits-all across all demographics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11751
JournalScientific Reports
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

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