Cognitive and Behavioral Correlates of Achievement in a Complex Multi-Player Video Game

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Cognitive and Behavioral Correlates of Achievement in a Complex Multi-Player Video Game


  • Adam M. Large Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin—Madison, USA
  • Benoit Bediou Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Geneva, Switzerland
  • Sezen Cekic Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Geneva, Switzerland
  • Yuval Hart Department of Psychology, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
  • Daphne Bavelier Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, University of Geneva, Switzerland
  • C. Shawn Green Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin—Madison, USA


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Abstract:  Over the past 30 years, a large body of research has accrued demonstrating that video games are capable of placing substantial demands on the human cognitive, emotional, physical, and social processing systems. Within the cognitive realm, playing games belonging to one particular genre, known as the action video game genre, has been consistently linked with demands on a host of cognitive abilities including perception, top-down attention, multitasking, and spatial cognition. More recently, a number of new game genres have emerged that, while different in many ways from “traditional” action games, nonetheless seem likely to load upon similar cognitive processes. One such example is the multiplayer online battle arena genre (MOBA), which involves a mix of action and real-time strategy characteristics. Here, a sample of over 500 players of the MOBA game League of Legends completed a large battery of cognitive tasks. Positive associations were observed between League of Legends performance (quantified by participants’ in-game match-making rating) and a number of cognitive abilities consistent with those observed in the existing action video game literature, including speed of processing and attentional abilities. Together, our results document a rich pattern of cognitive abilities associated with high levels of League of Legends performance and suggest similarities between MOBAs and action video games in terms of their cognitive demands.

Keywords:  action video games; cognitive demand; individual differences; MOBA video games

Published:   20 December 2019


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v7i4.2314


© Adam M. Large, Benoit Bediou, Sezen Cekic, Yuval Hart, Daphne Bavelier, C. Shawn Green. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.