Completing the picture: the effects of video game practice on verbal and performance I.Q. scores in high functioning children
Jones, Mary Jane.
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The strength and nature of the video game practice effect on tests of visual and perceptual skills were examined using high functioning Grades Four and Five students who had been tested with the WISC-R .for the purpose of gifted identification and placement. The control group, who did not own and .play video games on a sustained basis, and the experimental group, who did own a video game system and had some mastery of video games, including the -Nintendo game, "Tetris", were each composed of 18 juniorg:r;-ade students and were chosen from pre-existing conditions. The experimental group corresponded to the control group in terms of age, sex, and community. Data on the Verbal and Performance I.Q. Scores were· collected for both groups and the author was interested in the difference between the Verbal and Performance Scores within each group, anticipating a P > V outcome for the experimental group. The results showed a significant P > V difference in the experimental, video game playing group, as expected, but no significant difference between the Performance $cores of the control and experimental groups. The results, thus, indicated lower Verbal I.Q. Scores in the experimental group relat'ive to 'the control group.' The study conclu~ed that information about a sUbject's video game experience and "learhing style pref~rence is important for a clear interpretation of the Verbal and Performance I.Q. Scores of the WISC-R. Although the time spent on video game play may, 'indeed, increase P~rformance Scores relative to Verbal Scores for an individual, the possibilities exist that the time borrowed and spent away from language based activities may retard verbal growth and/or that the cognitive style associated with some Performance I.Q.subtests may have a negative effect on the approach to the tasks on the Verbal I.Q. Scale. The study also discussed the possibility that exposure to ,the video game experience, in pre-puberty, can provide spatial instruction which will result in improved spatial skills. strong spatial skills have been linked to improved performance and preference in mathematics, science, and engineering and it was suggested that appropriate video game play might be a way to involve girls more in the fields of mathematics and science.
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