Executive functions in digital games

Boyle, Elizabeth and Terras, Melody and Ramsey, Judith and Boyle, Jim (2013) Executive functions in digital games. In: Psychology, Pedagogy and Assessment in Serious Games. IGI Global, Hershey, PA, pp. 19-46. ISBN 9781466647732

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Abstract

Despite enhanced appreciation of the nature and scope of the cognitive advantages of playing games, our understanding of the actual mechanisms responsible for generating and maintaining these remains limited. In this chapter, the authors propose that viewing these changes from the information processing perspective of executive functions will help to elucidate the psychological infrastructure that underpins these gains. They apply Anderson’s model of executive functions to understanding how games support visual-perceptual processing and higher-level thinking and problem solving. As well as extending our appreciation of how digital games can support learning, research on executive functions highlights the implications of the limitations of our cognitive systems for game design.