Off-campus SJSU users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your SJSU library user name and PIN.

Publication Date

Spring 2017

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




David Schuster


Cognition, Human-Computer Interaction, Human Factors, Skill Transfer, Training, Video Games

Subject Areas

Psychology; Cognitive psychology


The underlying mechanisms responsible for the improvements in cognition associated with video game play are less understood than the benefits. It is unclear whether cognitive improvements associated with video game play result from play in general (domain-general improvements) or from playing specific types of games (domain-specific improvements). These improvements may be evaluated through comparisons of two cognitive models: the domain-specific, transfer-appropriate processing model (TAPM) and the domain-general, perceptual template model (PTM). TAPM suggests that improvements in cognitive skills occur only when a training task requires their implementation, whereas PTM suggests that cognitive skills may be improved by non-task specific training which may lead to better allocate attentional resources. Performance metrics from selective attention and inhibitory control constructs were compared between participants with general video game experience, genre-specific experience, and no video game experience to determine how prior experience affected performance. The hypotheses related to cognitive improvements associated with video game play were not statistically supported in this study. The researchers concluded that there is a need for improved operationalization of video game experience, methodological approaches to address confounding variables (different game platforms and gaming habits), and development of more sensitive cognitive measures to better assess changes in cognition.