Task-switching is an executive function that refers to an individual’s ability to shift attention between different tasks. Previous studies have examined whether video game players perform better on task-switching experiments compared to non-video game players. This study aimed to add to existing research by examining video game experience on a continuous scale. Other factors that may affect the association between video game experience and task-switching ability were also examined, including the specific video game genre(s) played and the age that an individual began actively playing. Sixty participants from the Rochester Institute of Technology completed a questionnaire assessing video game experience and a task-switching experiment with a predictable and random paradigm. Task-switching performance was measured through switch cost, the price paid in response time for switching from one task to another. The results showed that for both the predictable and random task-switching paradigm: 1) Individuals with more video game experience had smaller switch costs than those with less. 2) Individuals who began actively playing earlier in life had no difference in switch cost compared to those who started playing later. 3) Individuals who more frequently play genres higher in complexity had no difference in switch costs compared to those who play less complex genres. 4) Differences in switch cost were robust to a correction that accounts for differences in baseline response times. These results suggest that individuals who play video games frequently may have practice with mechanics that likely transfer to task-switching performance due to them both requiring similar underlying demands.
Experimental Psychology (MS)
Department, Program, or Center
Brostek, Caitlin A., "The Effect of Video Game Experience in Different Genres on Task-Switching Ability" (2019). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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