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. 2020 Feb 3;16(1):2.
doi: 10.1186/s12993-020-0165-z.

Commercial Video Games and Cognitive Functions: Video Game Genres and Modulating Factors of Cognitive Enhancement

Free PMC article

Commercial Video Games and Cognitive Functions: Video Game Genres and Modulating Factors of Cognitive Enhancement

Eunhye Choi et al. Behav Brain Funct. .
Free PMC article


Background: Unlike the emphasis on negative results of video games such as the impulsive engagement in video games, cognitive training studies in individuals with cognitive deficits showed that characteristics of video game elements were helpful to train cognitive functions. Thus, this study aimed to have a more balanced view toward the video game playing by reviewing genres of commercial video games and the association of video games with cognitive functions and modulating factors. Literatures were searched with search terms (e.g. genres of video games, cognitive training) on database and Google scholar.

Results: video games, of which purpose is players' entertainment, were found to be positively associated with cognitive functions (e.g. attention, problem solving skills) despite some discrepancy between studies. However, the enhancement of cognitive functions through video gaming was limited to the task or performance requiring the same cognitive functions. Moreover, as several factors (e.g. age, gender) were identified to modulate cognitive enhancement, the individual difference in the association between video game playing and cognitive function was found.

Conclusion: Commercial video games are suggested to have the potential for cognitive function enhancement. As understanding the association between video gaming and cognitive function in a more balanced view is essential to evaluate the potential outcomes of commercial video games that more people reported to engage, this review contributes to provide more objective evidence for commercial video gaming.

Keywords: Cognitive functions; Commercial video games; Genres of video games; Modulating factors.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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