Psychology: Discuss effects of video games on attention Have you ever spent all night playing the latest version of “Call of Duty” or on “Facebook” thinking that it had only been a few hours? This is due to the fact that your attention has been directed or channelized towards one specific activity. In cognitive psychology, attention is defined as the means by which we actively process a limited amount of information through our senses. Even in a relatively simple video game, a player is taking in an enormous amount of information.
This processing can create an emotional connection associated with the playing of the game by stimulating pleasure centers in the brain. Furthermore, people are actively processing a small activity but taking in an enormous amount of information. This in turn persuades them to a specific activity that caused them beneficial actions or harmful actions in the cognitive process. Attention, as a part of the peripheral nervous system, is stimulated while it receives and responds to different receptive information.
Video games are one of the most addictive attention focusing activities in our society, thus, they contain both advantages and disadvantages in their affects on our attention. A recent study (Bavelier and C. Shawn Green 2003) has researched a relationship between expert video game players and non-video game players. It has suggested that video game players have higher performance and attention to improve skills. They recruited eight college students that have not played very little and an equal number of students who are playing action games (e. g.
Counter-Strike) over three days a week. The study was based on recalling where the target was on the screen. It was not a simple test where the target is centered on the screen. In this instance, it contains certain tricks that make participants get confused with a bombardment of attention diverting and confusing information for the player. For example, as the target flashes, a triangle with 24 possible locations appears on the screen. The screen is filled with a jumble of lines, circles, and squares, and the presence of up to 47 distracter blocks that move across the screen.
The result, the video game players were much better at recalling where the target was than non-video game players in every test. The players corrected around 80 percent of the time. In contrast, the non-players only corrected around 30 percent. The result could show the improvement of visual attention while playing video games because the video game players did not focus on only one object on the screen. They managed to focus on the major target and also focus on peripheral visual images (distracters) on the screen at the same time to identify where the target moved.
Basically they have better cognitive abilities to allocate their attention to focus on peripheral visual images. The study reported that video games can give some advantages mentally, but they can also have physical-emotional disadvantages. Video games can result in an increase in emotional disorder feelings and behaviors. People can become more sensitive and misinterpret what others say or the way they act towards them. Therefore they tended toward being isolated and prefer video games or TV rather than socializing. Furthermore, they are possibilities for attention problems.
A changing characteristic of humans is that they are likely to prefer “rapid pacing” rather than normal pacing by technology development. People are aiming faster technology to make less time taken. Therefore, by playing video games their brains have altered in form as the norm becomes the preference for quick pacing. Then limited attention becomes the norm for them. For example, today in social life, people get stimulated by modern technology and media such as telephones, computers and TV’s. Thus, they are not following any “normal” lifestyle such as reading a book or a newspaper.
It then follows that, the “normal” lifestyle becomes challenging to people because it is not “rapid pacing”. This could cause a problem for certain professions in our society not being able to cognitively focus without “rapid pacing”. For instance, doctors and lawyers need to focus on details minute details that hold peoples lives in the balance. A lawyer needs to remember case files and to pull the correct information from them during a trial. This would mean lawyers going through information trying to find one detail to help their client.
Doctors would need to consult each other or written sources to diagnose a patient’s ailment. A missed detail or focusing attention on something wrong would result in the wrong treatment possibly leading to death for the patient. However, a few recent researchers have discovered that video games can be used as human ability training systems. Alan Castel PhD, a psychology professor at the university of California, Los Angeles, he reported that video games will be good to practice scanning and detecting skills to find enemy in the game or useful supplement.
In military, they actually processing this system to develop their visual search skills and they have to get a test with graphical simulation systems. The technology was meant to be more realistic to display what is going to happen at certain situations. Therefore, soldiers can become more reliable on real situation without suffering. Moreover, they start inventing educational programs with graphical simulation to attract people. It is a useful way of using components parts of video games.
The companies apply interest of people that they are more interested at watching and playing rather than listening and writing. For example, the video training program “Fast Forward” provides varieties of highly individualized trainings on critical skills of processing, cognitive, linguistic and reading. There is each level so the players become more challenged to advanced level to become a top player. Video games captivating control on our attention span has yet to reach it limits as improvements are made.
This relatively new form media has yet to be fully studied by behavioral scientist. From these that have been done we can see there are positive and negative sides to the medium. Not only is the individual affected but society as a hole which may benefit or lose as it members no longer function fully. Whether or not it is beneficial could be determined by the person’s place in society. ? BBC NEWS | Health | Hyperactivity computer games link . (n. d. ). BBC News – Home. Retrieved September 12, 2011, from http://news. bbc. co. uk/2/hi/health/3092902. tm Undoing Dyslexia via Video Games . (n. d. ). American Psychological Association (APA) . Retrieved September 12, 2011, from http://www. apa. org/research/action/dyslexia. aspx Blog, A. (n. d. ). Top 10 negative effects of video games on children | Addiction Blog. Addiction Blog – “a” is for addiction. Retrieved September 12, 2011, from http://addictionblog. org/top-10/top-10-negative-effects-of-video-games-on-children/ Children, Television, Video Games and Attention Problems – (ADHD) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Cause, Diagnosis, History. (n. d. ).
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