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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

Different selection windows in respect of the willingness decisions in the low-motivational (upper area) and the high-motivational condition (lower area).
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Figure 4: Different selection windows in respect of the willingness decisions in the low-motivational (upper area) and the high-motivational condition (lower area).

Mentions: In order to obtain an objective index for the children's motivation on the training task and as a manipulation check of the variation in game setting, children of all groups were asked whether they were willing to perform an optional training block (see Figure 4) five times per session. A main goal of the present study was to disentangle the confounding of training motivation and training duration. Therefore, we ensured that children performed 24 experimental blocks irrespectively of their actual choice to play additional blocks. This was covered by a pre-programmed algorithm randomizing the positions of the willingness questions during each training session. According to that, the questions appeared variably after each (4 ± 1)rd/th block (but arguably never later than after the 21st one; that is, the last question could never appear accidentally after the very last block when there would be no effective possibility to continue). As a result of the manipulation, children should not become aware of the fact that they did not train any more blocks.


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)

Different selection windows in respect of the willingness decisions in the low-motivational (upper area) and the high-motivational condition (lower area).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 4: Different selection windows in respect of the willingness decisions in the low-motivational (upper area) and the high-motivational condition (lower area).
Mentions: In order to obtain an objective index for the children's motivation on the training task and as a manipulation check of the variation in game setting, children of all groups were asked whether they were willing to perform an optional training block (see Figure 4) five times per session. A main goal of the present study was to disentangle the confounding of training motivation and training duration. Therefore, we ensured that children performed 24 experimental blocks irrespectively of their actual choice to play additional blocks. This was covered by a pre-programmed algorithm randomizing the positions of the willingness questions during each training session. According to that, the questions appeared variably after each (4 ± 1)rd/th block (but arguably never later than after the 21st one; that is, the last question could never appear accidentally after the very last block when there would be no effective possibility to continue). As a result of the manipulation, children should not become aware of the fact that they did not train any more blocks.

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