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Title page for ETD etd-03262011-200344

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Verdine, Brian Nicholas
Author's Email Address brian.verdine@gmail.com
URN etd-03262011-200344
Title Navigation experience in video game environments: effects on spatial ability and map use skills
Degree PhD
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Georgene L. Troseth Committee Chair
Daniel T. Levin Committee Member
John J. Rieser Committee Member
Robert M. Hodapp Committee Member
Timothy P. McNamara Committee Member
  • video games
  • navigation
  • virtual environments
  • map skills
  • spatial ability
  • wayfinding
Date of Defense 2010-12-12
Availability unrestricted
Educational video games may offer a good platform for learning because they are highly motivating. Studies have already shown that adults can improve visual-spatial abilities through playing video games. This research focuses on whether or not higher cognitive skills can be learned from video games, specifically those associated with map-based wayfinding.

Study 1, a web-based questionnaire study, led to the development of the scales used throughout this project. Sex differences in Study 1 data are discussed, and exploratory analyses for future measure development are reviewed. Study 2, carried out at the same time as Study 1, used a training paradigm manipulating the amount and type of video game exposure provided to non-game-playing adults. Pre- and post-tests consisted of real-world and computer tests of map- and memory-based wayfinding, tests of general visual-spatial skills, and questionnaires derived from Study 1 probing potential correlates of wayfinding (demographic variables, formal map-use training, etc.).

A number of a priori hypotheses related to benefits of game playing were not supported. In addition to discussing these findings and placing them within the current landscape of the literature, I will discuss hypotheses and expected results that were supported, review the development of new measures for possible use in related studies, and discuss future directions for this line of research.

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