Brain-Gaming!:An interactive study to learn effects of strategy video gaming on cognitive brain function?
Hello! I am Aditya dokhale and i am 14 years old.I love science and maths and I am passionate about these subjects.I am an avid researcher and my project for Google Science fair is about effects of strategy video gaming on cognitive function of gamer.The project is taken up to solve problem of many students across the world by an effective and interactive way to help those facing the problem.I hypothsized that strategy gaming can be a solution for the problem.
Thank you! This is my project for Google Science Fair 2013-
As US President Obama said that "STEM education is important to build national economy and growth".Therefore for development of nation and its pupils STEM education is important to all and to grasp the concepts students should have high cognitive skills.As In an article I read about low academic performance of majority of students these days and this is due to their low cognitive skills such as mental ability and reasoning.As educational games are emerging as a new way to teach students interactively,Therefore the goal is to implement the same principal in strategy video games to improve cognitive skills?
As past results in educational gaming are brilliant,therefore i hypothesized that playing strategy video games will improve cognitive functions.To test my hypothesis I made several strategy video games which student played during the experiment.
The study was conducted on 20 students of 8th grade.Students gave a mental ability and reasoning test.After that they played strategy video games for 20 minutes/day for a week.After that another test of students was taken and data of both the tests was analysed to find the result.
The results were significant as average improvement of 25.4% was noted.Further i used t-test and the results proved to be extremly significant as p-value was <.0001.The results supported my hypothesis and thus my study was successful.
In future i will expand my study and will find solutions for real world problems to help community.
There's no looking back now as it's start of my journey!
"WHY".that was my first word.I ask many questions and "SCIENCE" is where I got my answers.From "atoms" to "electricity" and "artificial intelligence" to "algebra" SCIENCE gave me many answers which fascinated me and made me more interested in the subject.
"SCIENCE" and "MATHS" is where my heart lies and I am always eager to learn new concepts and ideas.The zeal to learn more in these subjects has taken me to learn concepts of higher classes and it devloped a passion for these subjects inside me.
An avid student,athlete and researcher I am always up for learning new things. I love computer and started learning programming and learnt vb.net and python and will learn java soon.
I participate a lot in science,maths and quiz competitions and have cleared level 1 of NTSE,cleared level 1 of National Science olympiad and International Maths olympiad and also secured state rank 25 in NSO.I have also won several quiz competitions and will participate in Zonal Computing olympiad.I am an A grade student in my class and I am inspired by scientists like Einstein and Tesla.
Apart from science I like music and reading.An athlete I play football and chess and participated two times in regional tournament.
Winning the Science fair means alot and will help me to study in a well known college like MIT or Stanford.It is also an opportunity to meet great minds from world.It will also inspire me to help mankind through Science and to do something great.
The question came in my mind when I was reading a article on "academic level of students" in which I read that the level of study of majority of students is decreasing these days.The conclusion of the report was that the students level was decreasing because students think study as boring and their mental ability and logical reasoning and other cognitive skills is not strong.Thus they are not getting the concepts.
As educational video games are emerging as a new way to teach concepts to student and the results are brilliant from past studies and have a impact on players academics.
Therefore can this principal of educational gaming be implemented in strategy video games to help enhancing players mental ability and logical reasoning skills.Thus my question for Google science fair is as follows:
Does strategy video gaming helps in improving cognitive skills and functions?
The question is also imprtant as in this high competitive world one should have a high cognition to excel.Therfore I want to help many students who are having the same difficulty by getting the solution of the problem.
Previous studies done in educational games in past showed a tremendous result in increase in academic performance of player and learning ability.
Thus implementing the same results in my project,I hypothesised as follows:
Playing strategy video games will help in improving cognitive skills of the players and will be a solution for them to grasp concepts easily.
Educational computer games are a new and better way to teach core concepts to students to help in grasping the concepts and to learn.As we are living in a world which is advancing at every instance and for the new genration digital technology is important and can be vital to teach them.previous studies have shown that when we do a work on our own we get more skilled in it rather than watching the work or reading about it.Educational games are video games which emphasise on teaching concepts to students in a more enjoyable way with better grpahics and sound.In today's 21'st century educational games can play vital role in strengthening the genration by a more devloped educational system.
Strategy games are games in which the player has to deal with tactic and logic to achieve a certain task and to execute it to win the game.Puzzle games are games in which the player has to deal with solving a puzzle by his mental ability,logic and pattern recognition skills..Puzzle games focus on conceptual and logical challenges as well as add pressure on player by giving a limited time to perform the task.
Cognition is a group of mental processes that includes attention,problem solving,reasoning,learning,language understanding,decision making etc.In psychology cognition is related with mind,intelligence.As these disciplines are important in today's world which is developing at every instance,therefore logical reasoning,problem solving,mind and intelligence are some factors which are important for developing cognitive function.
Reaserch on video games are increasing now days and try to focus on what players learn by playing video games.Past researches have found that video games also increase competition and also motivates the player as well as influence them in their behavior towards others and society.Several Researchers are working in the field of educational gaming and its relation with psychology.As new questions are start growing in mind of researchers new discoveries will be made soon.
My past studies on how to build video games also came handy and were important for the experiment.
I wonder like other researchers researching in the field of educational gaming that can we tackle this problem of low mental ability and logical reasoning in our genration by an effective,interactive and a enjoyable way to improve cognitive skills of our genration by strategy video games?
The aim of the project is to study the effects of strategy video games on cognitive skills such as mental ability and logical reasoning skills of the player.
Materials needed -
1.A desktop with python programming language and pygame enabled.
2.20 students grom grade 8 who will volunteer in the experiment.
3.py2exe to convert code of my games to execute them in windows.
4.Two test papers of mental ability and logical reasoning for students of grade 8.
5.A computer lab where students can play the games.
Making the games
I made the games on my own which students will play during the experiment.For making the games i used python programming language with pygame platform.I used py2exe to convert the code of games in to windows executables.I made games such as tetris,reversi,memory puzzle(memorabilia),four-in-a-row.
Volunteers for the experiment -
For the experiment I randomly selected 20 students from grade 8 of a local high school*.These students will volunteer in the project.
Making the test papers -
For the experiment two test papers of mental ability and logical reasoning were made.The test papers were made for an average student.
Procedure for the experiment -
1.Making strategy video games and converting them in to windows executables.
2.Randomly selecting 40 students from grade 6 for the experiment.
3.Taking a MCQ based test of mental ability and logical reasoning of the students.
4.Checking the answer sheets of the students and making report of result of all students.
5.After the test#1 all the students will play strategy video games made by me for a week, 20 min per day.
6.After the game playing week, Taking a MCQ based test#2 of all the students of mental ability and logical reasoning.
7.Checking the answer sheets and making report of the results of all the students.
8.Assembling all the data and analysing it to draw conclusion of the experiment.
Screenshots of my Games and their codes-
Given below is the paper#1 of mental ability and logical reasoning given to students.The question paper consists of 20 MCQ questions and each question carries 2 marks.The time limit is of 30 minutes.
Given below is the question paper#2 given to students.The format of the paper is same as of question paper#1.
*Note- At the time of my experiment local schools were having vacations and some schools were having final exams therefore i choosed all the 20 volunteers from my locality.
Students results data-
The document below gives a report of results of all the students, of test#1 and test#2 as well as overall improvement after playing strategy video games.At an average the marks of test#1 were 20.5 marks and marks of test#2 were 25.7. An average improvement of 25.4% is seen which is significant.
Students results comparison by graph
The graphs shown below gives a comparison between marks of test#1 and test#2 of all the students.From the graph it is observed that there was a increase in cognitive skills of students.
Average marks comparison-
Testing the hypotheses-
To test my hypothesis i used a paired t-test(difference formula). let the null hypothesis be that playing strategy video games doesn't improve cognitive function.Let the alternative hypothesis be that playing strategy games improves cognitive function.The formula given below will give the value of t.
let d denote the mean of marks obtained by all students in test#2. let d0 denote the mean of marks obtained by students in test#1. let sd be difference in standard deviation of test#2 and test#1 and n be the sample size.
for my experiment- d=25.7, d0=20.5, sd=2.37 and n=20.
substituting these values in the formula given above gives the value of t= 9.81.
now,for t= 9.81 and with 19 degrees of freedom, we get the p-value as <.0001.The result proved to be extremely statistically significant and supports the alternative hypotheses that playing strategy video games improves cognitive function.
The results supported my hypothesis which was " that playing strategy video games improves cognitive function".There was an average improvement of 25.4% seen after a week playing strategy video games.To further validate my research and to prove it statistically significant i used t-test.Statistically the results proved to be extremely significant as p-value was <.0001.
I concluded that the result supported my hypothesis because for a 8th grade student learning interactively through video games binds them into the atmosphere of learning and thus makes them more intrested in learning new concepts and motivates to study more.Further it was also noted that if a student regularly plays the game then the students cognitive skills will improve more significantly.I also concluded that due to increase in students cognitive skills, therefore the student will improve their academic performance too, to prove it I will like to conduct further experiments so as to help students all over the world.
In future i will like to expand my project and to develop some new strategy games as well as I would like to conduct my experiment on more students and will also try to include local schools in my study.Further i would also increase the time period of playing and will try to improve my study with new methods.If all will go like this it is assumed that students all over the world will be benifitted from the study.
In future i will like to study more and learn new concepts and ideas in Science.As new problems and ideas are emerging in the world of Science therfore I will enthusiastically like to find their solutions and to present new ideas in the community of Scientists.I will like to find alternatives for water treatment, energy requirement and problems which are afftecting people all over the world and to help them through my knowledge of Science as it is my dream to do something for my people.
There is no looking back now as its start of my journey in the scientific world to do something great!
1.Gee,J.P. Good Video Games and Good Learning,2006 ; available from : http://www.academiccolab.com/resources/documents/Good_Learning.pdf
2.Gee,J.P. Why Game Studies Now?,2006 ; available from : http://www.jamespaulgee.com/sites/default/files/pub/GamesCulture-1-1.pdf
3.diSessa,A.A. Changing Minds: Computers,Learning,and Literacy.Cambridge,Mass:MIT Press,2000.
and many more..
I would like to thank all the people who helped me in my project by giving their valuable time.I would like to thank my family,especially my sisters who helped me in making the powerpoint presentation and reviewing my project.I would like to express my deepest appreciation to all the childrens who volunteered in my project.I would like to express my gratitude towards python.org and pygame.org who made python programming language and pygame respectively,which was so much help in making the games.I am very grateful to Google for giving me this wonderful oppertunity and Google's search engine was also very helpful in completion of the project.I Thank all of you for your help and support and to judges for having a look on my project.
At last I want to thank GOD who made all this possible.
- Aditya Dokhale