Published online by Cambridge University Press: 05 August 2014
In this chapter recent research focusing on the use of multimedia computer games for instruction is reviewed with an emphasis on the effects of games on improving cognitive processes. The research suggests that the greater the overlap in cognitive processes between games and external tasks, the more likely is transfer to non-game tasks. In addition, accumulating evidence suggests that playing fast-paced action games improves cognitive processes dealing with attention, task switching, and resistance to distractors, with some transfer to untrained domains. Studies with older adults suggest that intense computer game training may improve some cognitive processes. Results also indicate that although game playing reduces time spent on schoolwork, integrating games into the curriculum is likely to increase the probability of transfer from games to curricular goals. Finally, research identifying the cognitive processes engaged by multimedia presentations outside of games is recommended in order to clarify multimedia effects and facilitate studies of whether multimedia presentations are differentially beneficial for different groups.