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Role of Prior Experience in Performance and Transfer within the Space Fortress Game

Title: The Role of Prior Experience in Performance and Transfer within the Space Fortress Game.
Name(s): Towne, Tyler J. (Tyler James), author
Ericsson, K. Anders (Karl Anders), 1947-, professor directing dissertation
Ahlquist, Jon E., university representative
Boot, Walter Richard, committee member
Folstein, Jonathan Robert, committee member
Johnson, Frank, (Professor of Psychology), committee member
Florida State University, degree granting institution
College of Arts and Sciences, degree granting college
Department of Psychology, degree granting department
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2016
Publisher: Florida State University
Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource (73 pages)
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: In this study, I examined group differences in performance between video game players (VGPs) and non-video game players (NVGPs) on the complex learning task "Space Fortress". The primary goal of this investigation was to identify transfer from previous video game experiences and training on differing versions of the target task as well as the significant predictors of increased Space Fortress performance that may explain VGP/NVGP differences. Forty VGPs who reported playing video games for over 10 hours per week and 40 NVGPs who reported fewer than 1 hour of video game play were recruited from a community in the southeastern United States. Twenty of each group were assigned to play the 10 three-minute games of the traditional joystick version of Space Fortress first, and 20 were assigned to play 10 three-minute games of the keyboard version first; followed by 10 three-minute games of the alternate controller type. After receiving game instructions, all players were evaluated on their rule-knowledge before playing Space Fortress. After completing the two 30-minute blocks of Space Fortress, players were given a questionnaire about their video game experiences. Large differences in attained videogame scores between VGPs and NVGPs were discovered (Cohen’s d = 0.87). There was a reliable 3-way interaction between controller type and task order F (1, 836.55) = 5.13, p < 0.05. The VGP advantage was largest on the keyboard version of the task when they received the keyboard task first, suggesting that gamers could be scaffolding their skills when presented with a familiar controller first. While the VGP advantage was not large at the initial presentation of the task, VGPs improved significantly faster than NVGPs, especially on the keyboard version of the task. Once these skill differences were identified, I conducted post-hoc analyses to specify the areas of greatest advantages. In addition to an analysis of the game-produced subscores which suggested differences in priorities throughout training, I examined differences in performance on a Space Fortress rules quiz. There were significant differences in performance between VGPs and NVGPs on quiz performance, t (78) = -2.85; p < .01. Regression analyses revealed robust effects of quiz performance on Space Fortress scores, t (73) = 4.39, p < .001, effects that were similar in magnitude of the VGP effects but did not appear to mediate the VGP/NVGP differences on Space Fortress performance. There were also large differences between VGPs and NVGPs (Cohen’s ds between 0.86 to 1.91) on the types of video game activities they had engaged in, these differences were found to be unrelated to Space Fortress performance when controlling for other critical factors. I also discuss the potential effects of gender and other variables on Space Fortress performance. In conclusion, I found that there are robust differences between VGPs and NVGPs on Space Fortress performance. However, these differences are highly related to the controller used, which controller is trained first, and by shifts in how VGPs prioritized aspects of the game. The transfer differences between conditions, especially for gamers, suggests that there are significant effects of prior experience and knowledge in the acquisition of a new cognitive skill, but these differences are difficult to describe given the large qualitative differences in the types of experiences that VGPs have cultivated. Future studies should analyze verbal reports and other process tracing data to better understand the specific nature of the mediating mechanisms and carefully design experimental manipulations to interfere with the acquired cognitive mechanisms, thus completing the last step in the expert-performance approach, and paving the way for a better understanding of how the approach can be used to better describe early skill acquisition.
Identifier: FSU_FA2016_Towne_fsu_0071E_13619 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Psychology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Psychology.
Degree Awarded: Fall Semester 2016.
Date of Defense: November 22, 2016.
Keywords: Expert-Performance, Gamer, Space Fortress, Training, Transfer, Video Games
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: K. Anders Ericsson, Professor Directing Dissertation; Jon E. Ahlquist, University Representative; Walter Boot, Committee Member; Jonathan Folstein, Committee Member; Frank Johnson, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Cognitive psychology
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Host Institution: FSU

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Towne, T. J. (T. J. ). (2016). The Role of Prior Experience in Performance and Transfer within the Space Fortress Game. Retrieved from