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Action video game training reduces the Simon Effect.

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-12-14, 16:01 authored by Claire V. Hutchinson, Doug J. K. Barrett, Aleksander Nitka, Kerry Raynes
A number of studies have shown that training on action video games improves various aspects of visual cognition including selective attention and inhibitory control. Here, we demonstrate that action video game play can also reduce the Simon Effect, and, hence, may have the potential to improve response selection during the planning and execution of goal-directed action. Non-game-players were randomly assigned to one of four groups; two trained on a first-person-shooter game (Call of Duty) on either Microsoft Xbox or Nintendo DS, one trained on a visual training game for Nintendo DS, and a control group who received no training. Response times were used to contrast performance before and after training on a behavioral assay designed to manipulate stimulus-response compatibility (the Simon Task). The results revealed significantly faster response times and a reduced cost of stimulus-response incompatibility in the groups trained on the first-person-shooter game. No benefit of training was observed in the control group or the group trained on the visual training game. These findings are consistent with previous evidence that action game play elicits plastic changes in the neural circuits that serve attentional control, and suggest training may facilitate goal-directed action by improving players' ability to resolve conflict during response selection and execution.


This work was supported by a British Academy grant to CVH. CVH is grateful to the University of Leicester for a period of academic study leave.



Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 2016, 23 (2), pp. 587-592

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF MEDICINE, BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND PSYCHOLOGY/MBSP Non-Medical Departments/Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

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Psychonomic Bulletin and Review


Springer Verlag (Germany), Psychonomic Society



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