Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Stimulus- and Goal-Driven Control of Eye Movements: Action Videogame Players Are Faster but Not Better

Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Stimulus- and Goal-Driven Control of Eye Movements: Action Videogame Players Are Faster but Not Better

Article excerpt

Published online: 30 My 2014

(Q> The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2014

Abstract Action videogame players (AVGPs) have been shown to outperform nongamers (NVGPs) in covert visual attention tasks. These advantages have been attributed to improved top-down control in this population. The time course of visual selection, which permits researchers to highlight when top-down strategies start to control performance, has rarely been investigated in AVGPs. Here, we addressed specifically this issue through an oculomotor additional-singleton paradigm. Participants were instructed to make a saccadic eye movement to a unique orientation singleton. The target was presented among homogeneous nontargets and one additional orientation singleton that was more, equally, or less salient than the target. Saliency was manipulated in the color dimension. Oiu results showed similar patterns of performance for both AVGPs and NVGPs: Fast-initiated saccades were saliency-driven, whereas later-initiated saccades were more goal-driven. However, although AVGPs were faster than NVGPs, they were also less acciuate. Importantly, a multinomial model applied to the data revealed comparable underlying saliency-driven and goal-driven functions for the two groups. Taken together, the observed differences in performance are compatible with the presence of a lower decision bound for releasing saccades in AVGPs than in NVGPs, in the context of comparable temporal interplay between the underlying attentional mechanisms. In sum, the present findings show that in both AVGPs and NVGPs, the implementation of top-down control in visual selection takes time to come about, and they argue against the idea of a general enhancement of top-down control in AVGPs.

Keywords Attention modeling * Action videogame players * Cognitive control * Automaticity * Eye movements * Visual attention

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

Action videogames are a form of entertainment with the potential to trigger substantial modifications in oiu brain and behavior (for a review, see Bavelier, Green, Pouget, & Schrater, 2012). In the last decade a growing body of data showed that action videogame players (AVGPs) outperform nongamers (NVGPs) in a wide variety of visual attention tasks, including selective-attention tasks (Hubert-Wallander, Green, Sugarman, & Bavelier, 2011) and sustained-attention and divided-attention tasks (Green & Bavelier, 2003, 2006)- tasks that require skills that go well beyond the abilities directly trained within the game environment. Moreover, the same patterns of results have been observed in naïve partici- pants who were trained for a short period of time with action videogames, demonstrating a direct causal role of action videogame playing in these improvements in visual attention (Green & Bavelier, 2003, 2006; but see Kristjánsson, 2013). Until now, the explanation for this superior performance is that AVGPs show enhanced top-down control relative to NVGPs. This is generally expressed through a more efficient suppression of irrelevant information in AVGPs relative to NVGPs (Bavelier, Achtman, Mani, & Föcker, 2012; Green, Sugarman, Medford, Klobusicky, & Bavelier, 2012; Hubert- Wallander et al., 2011; Mishra, Zinni, Bavelier, & Hillyard, 2011). However, specifically how and when in time this enhanced top-down control is established during performance has not been systematically investigated.

Notably, recent evidence from overt visual selection para- digms suggests that voluntary and intentional goal-driven strategies generally take time to be implemented, such that early in time visual selection is driven primarily by stimulus- salience and only later in time by goal-driven behavior (van Zoest & Donk, 2005, 2008; van Zoest, Donk, & Theeuwes, 2004; van Zoest, Hunt, & Kingstone, 2010). The aim of the present study was to investigate the time course of overt visual selection in AVGPs as compared to NVGPs. …

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