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First Person Shooters (Games) Games Science

Video Games Found To Enhance Visual Attention 79

donniebaseball23 writes "Reporting on new research from WIREs Cognitive Science, IndustryGamers writes: 'Action games like Call of Duty and Halo can enhance visual attention, the ability that helps us focus on relevant visual information. The mental mechanism allows people to select pertinent visual information and ignore irrelevant information. It suggests that action titles can be used to augment military training, educational tools, and correct visual deficits.' Shawn Green, co-author of the study, commented, 'At the core of these action video game-induced improvements appears to be a remarkable enhancement in the ability to flexibly and precisely control attention, a finding that could have a variety of real-world applications. For example, those in professions that demand "super-normal" visual attention, such as fighter pilots, would benefit enormously from enhanced visual attention, as their performance and lives depend on their ability to react quickly and accurately to primarily visual information."
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Video Games Found To Enhance Visual Attention

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  • by vandelais ( 164490 ) on Monday November 15, 2010 @08:19PM (#34237412)

    I hear "zug zug".

  • What about ANGBAND??? Surely the hours I've poured into that have improved me in some way? Surely???

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Surely by now you know better than to drink unidentified liquids.
      (and to avoid lowercase k's)

    • My favorite thing about Angband is ironman mode. No town, no going back up stairs. Just you and 100 level dungeon. It took me hundreds of tries, but I did beat it once with a Troll Warrior. Its soooo fun. You need to first manage your food and light. If you lose your food or light, you die. But if you dive too fast you die. So you need to dive at just the right rate to get food and light. If you get excess food or light, you can stay on a dungeon level longer for monsters to spawn and get you more
      • I forgot to add the hilarity of running really low on food. So instead of dying, you start eating all sorts of deadly enchanted mushrooms, drink potions, and even read scrolls in hopes of finding a satisfy hunger scroll. If you run low on light things are better, because you can start conserving on light and only using light when you need it, still things are rough. Also you don't just have unlimited identify scrolls, so you tend to save them for the best things you can find. If you get a ton of identif
    • Sadly only SLASH'EM works for that.
    • What about ANGBAND??? Surely the hours I've poured into that have improved me in some way? Surely???

      If you had to read and understand lots of text, it did help you with reading and interpretation. As to the visual, reflexes, etc, I believe playing ball will do the same, with some extra benefits for the rest of the body too. I love games. But I sort of put them aside a bit. I was sad to realize that several of the guys that gather around gaming places do tend to confuse reality and gaming and actually carry the "gaming" attitude into real life, getting into fights rather often.

    • Well, the examples they used do have multiplayer, while Angband doesn't. And they do talk about training your filtering _relevant_ information.

      And if it's one thing that my days of counter-strike and other multiplayer FPS-es taught me, the only relevant information, the only thing that another player needs to know on a given map is (A) his mother's weight, (B) her sexual exploits, and (C) his real sexuality. At least that's what everyone was telling me, anyway. I came in expecting stuff like, you know, stra

  • Action games [...] can enhance visual attention, the ability that helps us focus on relevant visual information. The mental mechanism allows people to select pertinent visual information and ignore irrelevant information.

    Another mental mechanism is telling me that there is some irrelevant redundancy above.

  • Most of the gamers I know pass the following test: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo [youtube.com]
    • Sadly, that test is largely meaningless at this point - too many people have heard of it to be effective.

    • Wow, first time seeing that clip, and I got exactly 15 passes, and noticed the gorilla when she was in the middle of the screen.

      It was interesting how I was able to make the people in black simply disappear from view since they weren't relevant to the goal.

      • I managed to count 15 - by luck I believe. I also saw the gorilla.

        What DID give me problems - occlusion! I couldn't reliably keep track of what the balls were doing because they were obscured far too often.

    • So do most Furries.

  • The impression that I get after seeing training and hearing stories from vets who used to be in the profession & friends is that its more about planning than quick reaction time. "A reactive pilot dies, a proactive pilot lives." It doesn't matter if you need to turn immediately, your body can't take the G's that the jet exerts if you've already put yourself in that poor of a situation. On a side note, the job takes a serious toll on the body and is certainly not as glamorous as a lot of people make i

    • That applies to tons of other situations for other reason. Motorcycle riding is a good example. Virtually all of the times when a rider ends up getting creamed it's in a situation that's known to go bad. Left turners being one of the more common. If you wait until you're about to be hit, it's too late, you often can't turn a motorcycle fast enough to avoid it if you're not already on it.
    • by Kelbear ( 870538 )

      I can home in on things I'm looking for very quickly, but I think my attention to detail suffers as a result of always tackling large volumes of information breadth-first instead of depth-first.

      For example if I'm scanning a page of information with a lot of critical information, I skim it and miss what I'm looking for, skim again and miss it again, and it takes awhile before I realize I'm never going to find what I'm looking for this way. Eventually I settle down and read it carefully from the top and find

      • Not true. You are ideally suited to managing fast paced processes. You just apparently haven't found the niche that pays off yet. I can do both. Probably not as good as some at either.

        I believe at the moment that it is a left vs right brain activity.

  • It would be a failure if it replies on other forms of attentions.

    And the reality is that vision is the most important perception.
  • I'd like to see a study on gamers' driving records compared to non gamers. Are gamers better at driving? Worse?
  • porn does quite the same thing
  • I was reading an article about a year ago that was comparing soliders from urban areas and rural areas. Video game use is obviously fairly universal among enlistment age males. The hypothesis that was stated was that the soliders who had played video games would be more alert and more effective on patrol. It turned out to be the exact opposite. The kids who played games were more of a liability because their attention was narrowly focused and they would have problems recognizing things that were out of

    • Link? I'm skeptical because any gamer that's got tunnel vision and is bad at spotting "out of place" things would be TERRIBLE at almost every FPS.

      • by Simon80 ( 874052 )
        That doesn't sound right to me. When playing something like Counterstrike, UT, or Quake, reaction time is key, and the environment is usually very familiar in multiplayer maps. There's little reason to be keeping an eye out for anything that's not a person, and if there's pickups, they're usually in static locations, so there's no need to visually search for those either.
        • Maybe in the old 99 games where maps may as well have been flat colored boxes of various sizes for all they mattered, but with games like Battlefield and especially Bad Company it's getting pretty important to be aware of things.

      • Maybe if you've hardly ever been outdoors, you'd be bad at *knowing* that something is out of place. I don't know, doesn't seem like a very damning indictment here. Video games could still improve your reaction time and attention to relevant detail while not being as useful for outdoor military patrols as hunting experience, which seems much more closely related to the task.
        • That sounds more like a training failure on the military's part tbh, unless of course hunters are out there looking for a 12 point IED.

          • Heh :) Maybe looking for deer tracks or other signs of one's quarry is something that translates well... who knows?
            • And those 4 brown pixels might be more brown pixels or they might be a sniper 300 meters away. That little blip might just be some bloom or it might have been a tank firing at you from the horizon...

    • Just because hunting and being outside is more effective at developing military patrol skills than video games are, it doesn't necessarily follow that video games are not effective. They could simply be less effective. Plus, the example quoted in the summary was fighter jet pilots. That sort of task is highly visual in a very different way and I would imagine that at times, modern HUDs resemble video games. Not to mention that, as I have heard, there are several flight simulation games that actually require

      • by Carthain ( 86046 )

        Enhanced visual attention is also useful for your everyday person -- such as anyone who drives a car.

  • the results must be wrong ;)

  • since I am cramming everything that needs to be done thanks to video games. How I wish it can help keep myself awake in the office after playing till late nights though.
  • I hadn't played FPS games for quite a few years but I credit the skills they developed for successfully navigating autoroute 40 in Montreal. Noticing relevant signs while dodging cars just a half meter away got my family through alive. No achievements awarded (except being alive and not trading paint), but autoroute 40 is definitely the expert level, compared to easy level aka autoroute 20. I'm an experienced Toronto driver, but things are different enough in Montreal to make you have to fall back to ski
  • If it has a military application, it's good, and money will be thrown at it.
  • So doing $something a lot improves your skill in doing $something_similar?


  • Waving your mouse around to simulate having a natural FOV doesn't train you to actually use your natural pheripheal vision, and it does sound logical that it might in fact cause it to decay.
  • True story! I believe that my passion for FPS like Call of Duty are largely responsible for saving my life and that of my family. It was only because of quick reaction time (out of my peripheral) that I noticed a SUV about to sideswipe me coming off a side road and because I am so used to adjusting my vision quickly to scope into windows and whatnot off the left and right of the screen when im gaming (attention to my peripheral vision was always lacking)i was able to swerve to the opposite lane as the truck
  • I think further development of this is a great idea. The fact that is has the possibilites for real world application should be a major factor in further continuing the research. With all the distractions out there in the world anything that can hone in on and help people focus on the relvant information immediately around them would be a big benefit. Thats just for the every day man or women. But, when applying it to very stressful jobs or ones with very technicals demands the positive outcomes could be fa

All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford