Do action video games make safer drivers? The effects of video game experience on simulated driving performance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Research suggests, action video games (AVGs) can benefit cognitive performance across multiple domains including attention, visual-spatial awareness, psychomotor control, and executive functioning. Many of these domains overlap with the skills needed to safely drive a vehicle. We therefore predicted that experience playing AVGs may be associated with improved driving performance and greater spare capacity. One-hundred-and-thirty-eight participants who varied in action video game experience, completed a driving simulation under distracted and non-distracted conditions. Driving performance was measured through participants’ ability to maintain a consistent speed and lane position, and their spare cognitive capacity (via detection response task; DRT). Results showed participants with experience playing AVGs performed significantly better than non-gamers, demonstrating lower speed variability, improved lane maintenance, and better performance on the DRT. The effects of distraction were predictably observed, though distraction negated the improvements to DRT response times for AVG players. These findings indicate action video game players had better driving performance and increased spare cognitive capacity compared to individuals who did not play AVGs and highlight a potential avenue for improving driver safety through video game use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-180
Number of pages11
JournalTransportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour
Volume97
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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