Keynote: Action video games as exemplary learning tool (Video Conference)

Action video games as exemplary learning tool (Video Conference)
Prof. Daphne Bavelier, University of Geneva, Switzerland and University of Rochester, USA
14:30-15:30, 3 June 2016 (Friday)
Rayson Huang Theatre, The University of Hong Kong
Medium of instruction:
English 英語
Effects of games or gamification
Dr. Timothy Hew, Associate Professor, Faculty of Education, HKU


Action video game players outperform their non-action-game playing peers on various perceptual, attentional and cognitive tasks.  A training regimen whose benefits are so broad is rather unprecedented and provides a unique opportunity to identify factors that underlie generalization of learning and principles of brain plasticity. We propose that a common mechanism is at the source of this wide range of skill improvement. In particular, improvement in performance following action video game play results from greater learning to learn abilities. We will see that behavioral and neural markers of attentional control are enhanced in gamers, allowing them to better focus on the task at hand and ignore distractors or sources of noise. Such focus on task-relevant statistics appears to allow for not only more informed decision making but also faster learning and greater transfer. Practical applications from education to rehabilitation will be discussed.

About the speaker

Prof. Daphne Bavelier is an internationally-recognized expert on how humans learn. In particular, she studies how the brain adapts to changes in experience, either by nature – for example, deafness – or by training – for example, playing video games.  Initially trained in Biology at the ‘Ecole Normale Superieure de Paris’, she then received a PhD in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from MIT and trained in human brain plasticity at the Salk Institute.  Her work shows that playing fast-paced, action-packed entertainment video games typically thought to be mind-numbing actually benefits several aspects of behavior.  Exploiting this counter-intuitive finding, her lab now investigates how new media, such as video games, can be leveraged to foster learning and brain plasticity.

Daphne Bavelier now directs a Cognitive Neuroscience research team at the University of Geneva, Switzerland and at the University of Rochester, NY, USA. Her expertise is also sought outside of academia. She is a co-founding scientific advisor of Akili Interactive, a company which develops clinically-validated cognitive therapeutics that exploit video games, and a steering committee member on the World Economic Forum’s global agenda project “New Vision for Education: Unlocking the potential of technology”.