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Possible Duplicate:
Any work being done on Perception, Action, and/or Cognition in Video games?

Are there any research studies that show this?

See a thread on Quora for some initial discussion, but few research articles so far.

For decades, a different game, chess, has held the exalted position of “the drosophila of cognitive science”—the model organism that scientists could poke and prod to learn what makes experts better than the rest of us. StarCraft 2, however, might be emerging as the rhesus macaque: its added complexity may confound researchers initially, but the answers could ultimately be more telling. “I can’t think of a cognitive process that’s not involved in StarCraft,” says Mark Blair, a cognitive scientist at Simon Fraser University. “It’s working memory. It’s decision making. It involves very precise motor skills. Everything is important and everything needs to work together.”

Blair, the Simon Fraser University scientist running the SkillCraft project, asked gamers at all ability levels to submit their replay files. He and his colleagues collected more than 4500 files, of which at least 3500 turned out to usable. “What we’ve got is a satellite view of expertise that no one was able to get before,” he says. “We have hundreds of players at the basic levels, then hundreds more at level slightly better, and so on, in 8 different categories of players.” By comparing the techniques and attributes of low-level players with other gamers up the chain of ability, they can start to discern how skills develop—and perhaps, over the long run, identify the most efficient training regimen.

Both Blair and Lewis see parallels between the game and emergency management systems. In a high-stress crisis situation, the people in charge of coordinating a response may find themselves facing competing demands. Alarms might be alerting them to a fire burning in one part of town, a riot breaking out a few streets over, and the contamination of drinking water elsewhere. The mental task of keeping cool and distributing attention among equally urgent activities might closely resemble the core challenge of Starcraft 2. “For emergencies, you don’t get to train eight hours a day. You get two emergencies in your life but you better be good because lives are at stake,” Blair says. “Training in something like Starcraft could be really useful.”

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