Acute effects of physically active versus inactive video game play on executive functioning skills in children

Rachel Flynn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Video games, especially the newest technologies, are prevalent and popular activities for children. However, few studies have explored the benefits of playing these games on cognition. The aim of my dissertation research is to investigate how cognitive engagement and physical activity in active versus inactive video game play influences short-term effects on executive functioning (EF) skills for children ages 6 to 11. Research has found that certain activities temporarily boost executive functioning skills. Studies with adults and undergraduates have found that video game play increases selective attention and inhibition. In addition, empirical research has demonstrated that aerobic activity can enhance executive functioning after a 30-minute bout of exercise. Therefore, exergames, physically active video games, may have the most potential to impact executive functioning skills based on the combination of exercise and cognitively engaging video game play. The research will examine differences in executive functioning immediately after game play. There will be four conditions: a non-playing control, an exercise condition, an exergame condition, and sedentary video game condition. One hundred forty participants ages 6 to 11 years old will be tested in pre- and posttest on three different executive functioning tasks. An ANOVA with repeated planned contrasts will examine the hypothesis that the children in the exergame condition will have significantly greater improvement in EF than children in the non-playing control, exercise or sedentary video game conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFoundations of Digital Games 2012, FDG 2012 - Conference Program
Number of pages3
StatePublished - Jul 23 2012
Event2012 Foundation of Digital Games Conference, FDG 2012 - Raleigh, NC, United States
Duration: May 29 2012Jun 1 2012


Other2012 Foundation of Digital Games Conference, FDG 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityRaleigh, NC


  • Developmental Psychology
  • Executive Functioning
  • Exergame

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Software


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