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Allen M Y Cheong, Hiu Yan Lam, Willam Tsang, Susan J Leat, Roger Li; Slow-pace videogames are more effective than fast-pace videogames in enhancing visual attention in older adults. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2016;57(12):1510.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Action video game training has been shown to improve visual attention in older adults. However, realistic and violent first-person shooter games are always chosen for study, which are less preferred by older adults. In this study, we investigated the training effect of two types of cartoon-like action games, fast-paced and slow-paced, on older adults’ visual attention.
Sixty-four community-dwelling older adults (mean age of 65.4+/-4.0) were recruited. All participants had best-corrected visual acuity of 0.2 LogMAR or better and no prior experience in video-games. They were randomly assigned to 3 different groups: 1) control (CG, n=19); 2) slow-paced game training (SPGT, n=24); and 3) fast-paced game training (FPGT, n=21). Participants in the SPGT and FPGT received 20 hours of action video game training (Nintendo-Wii) on ping-pong and chicken-riot games, respectively (2 x 90-minutes sessions/week), while participants in the CG received 20 hours of leisure activities. Visual attention was measured by Useful Field of View (UFV) and Multiple Object Tracking (MOT) before and after the training for all 3 groups. In the UFV, all 3 subtests, processing speed, divided attention and selective attention, were evaluated. In the MOT, participants were asked to track 3 target discs among six, and identify them at the end of the trial. The maximum speed giving 60% accuracy reflected the MOT performance.
Results from repeated measures ANOVA showed a significant effect of time (practice) for both UFV and MOT (pre- vs. post-training, p=0.02). In the UFV, there was a significant interaction between time and group (p=0.04): significant improvement in visual attention was only observed in the SPGT group for the divided attention subtest (p=0.03). For the MOT, there were no differences between the groups (no interaction between time and group, p=0.92), so we conclude that video games did not improve participant’s visual attention for tracking multiple objects.
Here we show that “less challenging” slow-pace action video-game training, instead of fast-pace game training, can improve older adults’ divided attention performance. In contrast to previous studies, we found that action video-game training did not enhance participants’ visual attention for tracking multiple objects.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2016 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Seattle, Wash., May 1-5, 2016.
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