Computer games that exercise cognitive skills: what makes them engaging for children?

Journal article


Martinovic, D., Burgess, J., Pomerleau, C. and Marin, C. 2016. Computer games that exercise cognitive skills: what makes them engaging for children? Computers in Human Behavior. 60, pp. 451-462. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.02.063
AuthorsMartinovic, D., Burgess, J., Pomerleau, C. and Marin, C.
Abstract

This paper stems from a mixed-methods study in which we scientifically tested 15 computer games to investigate their suitability for cognitive training. After determining which cognitive functions are utilized while playing these games, we were able to relate schoolchildren's game performance to their cognitive abilities (e.g., executive functioning, perception, memory). As a continuation, we sought to identify the factors that lead to greater engagement in games, such as children's age, gender, and cognitive skills, as well as game genres and features.

Forty-one children played 15 computer games, each three times, under the scrutiny of two raters who completed an observational scale for each game. This scale was constructed as a reliable measure of engagement, comprising factors such as enjoyment, frustration, and effort. The data were analyzed using correlations and content analyses.

The results indicated that game performance increased with greater levels of engagement and that games involving planning and problem solving tended to be too difficult for younger children. The findings of this study are informative for psychologists, educators, as well as game designers, and can be used to recommend engaging and beneficial games for children.

KeywordsComputer games; engagement; cognitive skills; schoolchildren
Year2016
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Journal citation60, pp. 451-462
PublisherElsevier
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.02.063
Publication dates
Online02 Mar 2016
Publication process dates
Deposited31 Jul 2019
Accepted15 Feb 2016
Output statusPublished
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/8906z/computer-games-that-exercise-cognitive-skills-what-makes-them-engaging-for-children

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