Training in action video games can increase the speed of perceptual processing. However, it is unknown whether video-game training can lead to broad-based changes in higher-level competencies such as cognitive flexibility, a core and neurally distributed component of cognition. To determine whether video gaming can enhance cognitive flexibility and, if so, why these changes occur, the current study compares two versions of a real-time strategy (RTS) game. Using a meta-analytic Bayes factor approach, we found that the gaming condition that emphasized maintenance and rapid switching between multiple information and action sources led to a large increase in cognitive flexibility as measured by a wide array of non-video gaming tasks. Theoretically, the results suggest that the distributed brain networks supporting cognitive flexibility can be tuned by engrossing video game experience that stresses maintenance and rapid manipulation of multiple information sources. Practically, these results suggest avenues for increasing cognitive function. © 2013 Glass et al.
Glass, B. D., Maddox, W. T., & Love, B. C. (2013). Real-Time Strategy Game Training: Emergence of a Cognitive Flexibility Trait. PLoS ONE, 8(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0070350