Navigation experience in video game environments: effects on spatial ability and map use skills
Verdine, Brian Nicholas
Educational video games may offer a good platform for learning because they are highly motivating. Studies have already shown that adults can improve visual-spatial abilities through playing video games. This research focuses on whether or not higher cognitive skills can be learned from video games, specifically those associated with map-based wayfinding. Study 1, a web-based questionnaire study, led to the development of the scales used throughout this project. Sex differences in Study 1 data are discussed, and exploratory analyses for future measure development are reviewed. Study 2, carried out at the same time as Study 1, used a training paradigm manipulating the amount and type of video game exposure provided to non-game-playing adults. Pre- and post-tests consisted of real-world and computer tests of map- and memory-based wayfinding, tests of general visual-spatial skills, and questionnaires derived from Study 1 probing potential correlates of wayfinding (demographic variables, formal map-use training, etc.). A number of a priori hypotheses related to benefits of game playing were not supported. In addition to discussing these findings and placing them within the current landscape of the literature, I will discuss hypotheses and expected results that were supported, review the development of new measures for possible use in related studies, and discuss future directions for this line of research.