2015-10-30Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01683
Differential effects of wakeful rest, music and video game playing on working memory performance in the n-back task
The interruption of learning processes by breaks filled with diverse activities is common in everyday life. We investigated the effects of active computer gaming and passive relaxation (rest and music) breaks on working memory performance. Young adults were exposed to breaks involving (i) eyes-open resting, (ii) listening to music and (iii) playing the video game “Angry Birds” before performing the n-back working memory task. Based on linear mixed-effects modeling, we found that playing the “Angry Birds” video game during a short learning break led to a decline in task performance over the course of the task as compared to eyes-open resting and listening to music, although overall task performance was not impaired. This effect was associated with high levels of daily mind wandering and low self-reported ability to concentrate. These findings indicate that video games can negatively affect working memory performance over time when played in between learning tasks. We suggest further investigation of these effects because of their relevance to everyday activity.
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