Emotion perception in habitual players of action video games

Pichon, Swann (University of Geneva) ; Bediou, Benoit (University of Geneva) ; Antico, Lia (University of Geneva) ; Jack, Rachael (Glasgow University) ; Garrod, Olivier (Glasgow University) ; Sims, Chris (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) ; Green, C. Shawn (University of Wisconsin-Madison) ; Schyns, Philippe (Glasgow University) ; Bavelier, Daphne (University of Geneva)

Action video game players (AVGPs) display superior performance in various aspects of cognition, especially in perception and top-down attention. The existing literature has examined these performance almost exclusively with stimuli and tasks devoid of any emotional content. Thus, whether the superior performance documented in the cognitive domain extend to the emotional domain remains unknown. We present 2 cross-sectional studies contrasting AVGPs and nonvideo game players (NVGPs) in their ability to perceive facial emotions. Under an enhanced perception account, AVGPs should outperform NVGPs when processing facial emotion. Yet, alternative accounts exist. For instance, under some social accounts, exposure to action video games, which often contain violence, may lower sensitivity for empathy-related expressions such as sadness, happiness, and pain while increasing sensitivity to aggression signals. Finally, under the view that AVGPs excel at learning new tasks (in contrast to the view that they are immediately better at all new tasks), the use of stimuli that participants are already experts at predicts little to no group differences. Study 1 uses drift-diffusion modeling and establishes that AVGPs are comparable to NVGPs in every decision-making stage mediating the discrimination of facial emotions, despite showing group difference in aggressive behavior. Study 2 uses the reverse inference technique to assess the mental representation of facial emotion expressions, and again documents no group differences. These results indicate that the perceptual benefits associated with action video game play do not extend to overlearned stimuli such as facial emotion, and rather indicate equivalent facial emotion skills in AVGPs and NVGPs.

Note: PICHON, Swann est chercheur à la HES-SO, Haute école de santé de Genève, depuis mai 2020

Article Type:
HEdS - Genève
Aucun institut
17 p.
Published in:
Numeration (vol. no.):
2020, online
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Note: The status of this file is: restricted

 Record created 2021-01-04, last modified 2021-03-08

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