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Jordon Kunkel

IM 260

Digital Media and Video Games Cognitive Effects on Teens

Digital media is constantly in flux, shaping the way we think and operate. One of the most
astounding influences of digital media is the way it molds our cognition and social interactions. A main
focus of this paper is to review the cognitive effects of video games such as socialization skills and
decision making processes. Video games have an impact on these forms of cognition. The assessment of
positive and negative use of video games created the backbone of my research, and will hopefully allow
the reader to understand cognitive effects of digital media. My focus will bring your attention mainly to
the teenagers of this generation, as they will one day shape the future and the role video games and
alternatively digital media play in everyday life.
One of the most prevalent changes digital media can make on a teens cognition, is the use of
video games. Seen most often by the use of violent video games, is the aggressive behavior changes in
an individuals psyche, which is a negative effect of video games. Not all aspects of video games create
negative effects on a teens cognition, many positives are offered by the stimulating experience. A
positive cognitive effect of video games is increased coordination, from spatial visualization skills due to
sudden movements and dexterity within the video game (Ives, E. A. (2012)). Creativity, which is a very
strong positive aspect of video game playing, is also influenced by video games as video games create
adventure in our own lives and allows for a brief escape of stress and reality.
With the strong integration of video games into society most children are exposed to video
games on a regular basis and some own gaming counsels that get used daily. In the research I conducted
my survey showed that approximately 60% of the individuals surveyed started to play video games
before the age of 10. This sample is evidence that video games are introduced at a young age in our
population. The use of video games among teens also showed to be very prevalent with a large majority
of video game players who play at least 1 hour of video games a day.
Video games continue to increase in popularity as advancement in technology create a more
realistic playing field, and the marketing of today undoubtingly, creates a want to play the game for its
real life qualities. This possesses both positive and negatives aspects to video game use. The life like
appearances of video games presently is impressive and new gaming counsels are opening the gate for
real life gaming like virtual reality simulations. Teens that play these high tech video games can benefit
by escaping real life stressors and improve their spatial visualizations, but the actions of fighting in

Jordon Kunkel
IM 260

violent video games creates a lifelike scenario that the player must reenact in their own mind. The
implication is that doing an activity can be more Powerful than viewing it because it may be more easily
translated into ones own behavioral Repertoire. (Greenfield, P. M., & Calvert, S. L. 2004). In
Greenfields studies of students in Rome and Los Angeles with a virtual reality game called Dactyl
Nightmare, she finds that virtual reality video games are a large effector on ones cognition.
Patricia Greenfield references Sandra L. Calverts studies of video games that effect
representational competences which are. In context of video games, representational competence
includes visual skills such as iconic representation, mental rotation, and spatial visualization. (Greenfield,
P. M., & Calvert, S. L. 2004). The use of iconic representation was a major effector on a teens cognitive
development. They found that individuals who played the game rather than those who watched the
game were more aroused by the movements and had aggressive thoughts. The aggressive nature we see
from video game use is consistent with the fight and flight mechanism in each person. (Kaye, L. K.
2012) The fight response become more real with interactive video games. Imagine it as if you see

yourself pulling the trigger in an action game, as there becomes a smaller distinction between virtual
and reality. . (Greenfield, P. M., & Calvert, S. L. 2004) It is this reaction we see from playing violent
video games which changes our perception of reality. Psychology teaches us that our decision making
process ends with taking action followed by reviewing the decision made. Video games can impede on
this process as the player can represent themselves as the shooter or whomever they play as in first
person, and take action and briefly reflect on the decision made (Walton, Mark E. 2004). If the use of
violent video games is high among teens we can begin to notice an impact on the users decision making
skills and impulsiveness, which is mimicked by aggressive intentions.
I feel very strongly that education about video game use and ultimately digital media is our
solution to eliminating the negatives to our cognition. At a very young age we develop our decision
making process and decide from right and wrong. As video games are assimilated into a childs life we
should be conscious of what they think of video games and guide them to use them for a beneficial
purpose. Explaining the negatives of video games can be avoided if the user is aware. By educating them
and suggesting alternatives the adolescent or teen can create a structured and ethical decision making
techniques. Video games can be limited at a younger age as well to express the simple pleasures in life
that do not involve digital media. With education the realistic qualities of digital media can help teens
and adolescence distinguish between virtual and reality.

Jordon Kunkel
IM 260

Work Cited
Barlett, C. P., Vowels, C. L., Shanteau, J., Crow, J., & Miller, T. (2009). The effect of violent and nonviolent computer games on cognitive performance. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(1), 96102.

Blumberg, F. C., & Fisch, S. M. (2013). Introduction: Digital games as a context for cognitive
development, learning, and developmental research. New Directions for Child & Adolescent
Development, 2013(139), 1-9. doi:10.1002/cad.20026

Browne, K. D., & Hamilton-Giachritsis, C. (2005). The influence of violent media on children and
adolescents: A public-health approach. The Lancet, 365(9460), 702-710.

Greenfield, P. M., & Calvert, S. L. (2004). Electronic media and human development: The legacy of
rodney R. cocking. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 25(6), 627-631.

Hsiao, H. -., Chang, C. -., Lin, C. -., & Hu, P. -. (2014). Development of children's creativity and
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Ives, E. A. (2012). iGeneration: The social cognitive effects of digital technology on teenagers

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Jordon Kunkel
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