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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

Feedback display in the high-motivational condition.
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Figure 3: Feedback display in the high-motivational condition.

Mentions: Participants in all training groups received adaptive feedback about their percentage of correct responses as well as response speed (for details, see Section Training intervention). In the low-motivational groups, this feedback was presented in a simple text slide. In contrast, in the high-motivational groups, feedback was presented in a game-supporting layout and should thus be experienced as highly encouraging: Children saw an illustrative overview card indicating their success or failure, their Watermon's experience points, and their current tournament status (see Figure 3). The use of rewards in the form of informational feedback should also raise the sense of autonomy and competency.


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)

Feedback display in the high-motivational condition.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 3: Feedback display in the high-motivational condition.
Mentions: Participants in all training groups received adaptive feedback about their percentage of correct responses as well as response speed (for details, see Section Training intervention). In the low-motivational groups, this feedback was presented in a simple text slide. In contrast, in the high-motivational groups, feedback was presented in a game-supporting layout and should thus be experienced as highly encouraging: Children saw an illustrative overview card indicating their success or failure, their Watermon's experience points, and their current tournament status (see Figure 3). The use of rewards in the form of informational feedback should also raise the sense of autonomy and competency.

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