טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentZuckerman Guy
SubjectEnhancing 3D Perception and Mental Rotation Task
Execution of Elemantry School Children via Action
Video Games Playing
DepartmentDepartment of Education in Science and Technology
Supervisor Professor Miriam Reiner
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

Recent studies show that there is a strong correlation between playing action video games and enhanced cognitive skills such as mental rotation (MR), perception of useful\uniform field of view, object tracking, visual acuity, decision-making, perceived contrast sensitivity and cognitive flexibility.

Some of these cognitive skills are related to mental imagery, which is an important cognitive skill required in many learning topics disciplines, which demand 3D perception and MR such as geometry, stereometry, chemistry, physics and engineering.

Although notorious and debatable with regard to their social influence on aggressive behavior, the genre of action video games, known as First-Person Shooter type has the highest impact on these 3D perceptual skills. It provides the opportunity for players to look at the world and the playing scene as if they were in it, from their own and self-perspective, i.e. highly immersed and ‘present’ in the game world.

The research literature mainly deals with adults, and the youngest subjects studied were teenagers. The majority of studies have been performed on university students whereas the correlation between action video games and enhanced cognitive skills in elementary school children, the stage of shaping the basics of math, geometry and science, has not been studied yet. 

The current study aims to identify the correlation between playing action video games and improvement in mental imagery skills of 5th and 6th grade elementary school children and to find out if playing action video games before performing MR task shall have any influence on the quality of their performance.

The results show that there is a general improvement in the MR task performance but the significant and most profound results showed a gender difference with regard to the correlation between the action video games training and the improvement in the MR task performance.

The girls’ group who has went through training showed a significant improvement in their performance of the MR task compared to the girls control group, whereas for the boys, there was not any significant difference between the players group and the control group.

The results also show that the correlation between the response time and the angular disparities of the MR task’s images is not linear for all the angles and that there is a difference between the response time for the angular disparities of mirror images and identical images, which suggests two different mechanisms underlying decision making underlying decision making regarding mental symmetry and mental rotation. We further suggest that these two, which are normally treated as one mental mechanism, are actually two different mechanisms.