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Dissociable effects of game elements on motivation and cognition in a task-switching training in middle childhood.

Dörrenbächer S, Müller PM, Tröger J, Kray J - Front Psychol (2014)

Bottom Line: The results indicated that the addition of game elements to a training setting enhanced the intrinsic interest in task practice, independently of the cognitive demands placed by the training type.These motivation-induced benefits projected onto the switching performance in a switching situation different from the trained one (near-transfer measurement).Hence, the motivational setting clearly had a positive impact on the training motivation and on the paradigm-specific task-switching abilities; it did not, however, consistently generalize on broad cognitive processes.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Development of Language, Learning and Action, Saarland University Saarbrücken, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Although motivational reinforcers are often used to enhance the attractiveness of trainings of cognitive control in children, little is known about how such motivational manipulations of the setting contribute to separate gains in motivation and cognitive-control performance. Here we provide a framework for systematically investigating the impact of a motivational video-game setting on the training motivation, the task performance, and the transfer success in a task-switching training in middle-aged children (8-11 years of age). We manipulated both the type of training (low-demanding/single-task training vs. high-demanding/task-switching training) as well as the motivational setting (low-motivational/without video-game elements vs. high-motivational/with video-game elements) separately from another. The results indicated that the addition of game elements to a training setting enhanced the intrinsic interest in task practice, independently of the cognitive demands placed by the training type. In the task-switching group, the high-motivational training setting led to an additional enhancement of task and switching performance during the training phase right from the outset. These motivation-induced benefits projected onto the switching performance in a switching situation different from the trained one (near-transfer measurement). However, in structurally dissimilar cognitive tasks (far-transfer measurement), the motivational gains only transferred to the response dynamics (speed of processing). Hence, the motivational setting clearly had a positive impact on the training motivation and on the paradigm-specific task-switching abilities; it did not, however, consistently generalize on broad cognitive processes. These findings shed new light on the conflation of motivation and cognition in childhood and may help to refine guidelines for designing adequate training interventions.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Sample stimuli (left panel) and overview of the employed task-switching paradigm (right panel) for the low- and the high-motivational condition. Discrepancies in the low-motivational group are highlighted in blue ink.
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Figure 2: Sample stimuli (left panel) and overview of the employed task-switching paradigm (right panel) for the low- and the high-motivational condition. Discrepancies in the low-motivational group are highlighted in blue ink.

Mentions: All groups (low- and high-motivational) were equally presented with pictures containing Watermons in order to keep the perceptual properties of the task-relevant stimuli constant across the groups. The Watermons were not explicitly labeled as such in the low-motivational condition. Moreover, the low-motivational groups saw a scrambled, de-contextualized version of the Watermons. This version lacked the framing sensation of animated characters (see Figure 2). In the high-motivational conditions, in contrast, the game relatedness and the feeling of social responsiveness to the collective of the Watermon characters was explicitly encouraged by employing context-tied stimuli.


Dissociable effects of game elements on motivation and cognition in a task-switching training in middle childhood.

Dörrenbächer S, Müller PM, Tröger J, Kray J - Front Psychol (2014)

Sample stimuli (left panel) and overview of the employed task-switching paradigm (right panel) for the low- and the high-motivational condition. Discrepancies in the low-motivational group are highlighted in blue ink.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4230167&req=5

Figure 2: Sample stimuli (left panel) and overview of the employed task-switching paradigm (right panel) for the low- and the high-motivational condition. Discrepancies in the low-motivational group are highlighted in blue ink.
Mentions: All groups (low- and high-motivational) were equally presented with pictures containing Watermons in order to keep the perceptual properties of the task-relevant stimuli constant across the groups. The Watermons were not explicitly labeled as such in the low-motivational condition. Moreover, the low-motivational groups saw a scrambled, de-contextualized version of the Watermons. This version lacked the framing sensation of animated characters (see Figure 2). In the high-motivational conditions, in contrast, the game relatedness and the feeling of social responsiveness to the collective of the Watermon characters was explicitly encouraged by employing context-tied stimuli.

Bottom Line: The results indicated that the addition of game elements to a training setting enhanced the intrinsic interest in task practice, independently of the cognitive demands placed by the training type.These motivation-induced benefits projected onto the switching performance in a switching situation different from the trained one (near-transfer measurement).Hence, the motivational setting clearly had a positive impact on the training motivation and on the paradigm-specific task-switching abilities; it did not, however, consistently generalize on broad cognitive processes.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Development of Language, Learning and Action, Saarland University Saarbrücken, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Although motivational reinforcers are often used to enhance the attractiveness of trainings of cognitive control in children, little is known about how such motivational manipulations of the setting contribute to separate gains in motivation and cognitive-control performance. Here we provide a framework for systematically investigating the impact of a motivational video-game setting on the training motivation, the task performance, and the transfer success in a task-switching training in middle-aged children (8-11 years of age). We manipulated both the type of training (low-demanding/single-task training vs. high-demanding/task-switching training) as well as the motivational setting (low-motivational/without video-game elements vs. high-motivational/with video-game elements) separately from another. The results indicated that the addition of game elements to a training setting enhanced the intrinsic interest in task practice, independently of the cognitive demands placed by the training type. In the task-switching group, the high-motivational training setting led to an additional enhancement of task and switching performance during the training phase right from the outset. These motivation-induced benefits projected onto the switching performance in a switching situation different from the trained one (near-transfer measurement). However, in structurally dissimilar cognitive tasks (far-transfer measurement), the motivational gains only transferred to the response dynamics (speed of processing). Hence, the motivational setting clearly had a positive impact on the training motivation and on the paradigm-specific task-switching abilities; it did not, however, consistently generalize on broad cognitive processes. These findings shed new light on the conflation of motivation and cognition in childhood and may help to refine guidelines for designing adequate training interventions.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus