More Than Just Fun and Games? An Investigation of the Link Between Video Game Play and Cognitive, Perceptual, and Attentional Skills
As of today, the world counts around 2.55 billion video game players. Among the many games available to them, League of Legends (LoL), a Multiplayer Online Battle Arena game, counts among the most popular. Not only does its rapid pace and action-filled content make it fun, it also places a high demand on the players’ cognition, perception and attention. The present study inquired in what way playing such a game is linked to improved performance on select cognitive tasks. For this purpose, LoL players’ (n = 33) and non-video game players’ (n = 33) average reaction time and error rate was compared across an onlineadministered simple reaction time task, choice reaction time task, and visual search task. Results showed LoL players outperforming NVGPs on said measures of processing speed and visual search, with effect sizes ranging from medium-sized (ƒ = .237) to large (ƒ = .448). Moreover, age had a further effect (ƒ = .132 to .324) on performance, with younger participants achieving better results on average. Among the group of LoL players (N = 212), playing the game well (skill level) was associated with improved cognitive task performance: The higher-skilled the player, the lower was their RT on the SRT (r = -.20). Although correlations with other outcome variables did not reach significance, six further small effects were registered (r = -.06 to -.17). Overall, results indicate that regularly playing an Action-RTS game such as LoL may show links to a more favorable cognitive profile.