Action video game play facilitates “learning to learn”
Zhang R-Y., Chopin A., Shibata K., Lu Z-L., Jaeggi SM., Buschkuehl M., Green CS., Bavelier D.
AbstractPrevious work has demonstrated that action video game training produces enhancements in a wide range of cognitive abilities. Here we evaluate a possible mechanism by which such breadth of enhancement could be attained: that action game training enhances learning rates in new tasks (i.e., “learning to learn”). In an initial controlled intervention study, we show that individuals who were trained on action video games subsequently exhibited faster learning in the two cognitive domains that we tested, perception and working memory, as compared to individuals who trained on non-action games. We further confirmed the causal effect of action video game play on learning ability in a pre-registered follow-up study that included a larger number of participants, blinding, and measurements of participant expectations. Together, this work highlights enhanced learning speed for novel tasks as a mechanism through which action video game interventions may broadly improve task performance in the cognitive domain.