Solitary Active Videogame Play Improves Executive Functioning More Than Collaborative Play for Children with Special Needs

Rachel M. Flynn*, Nirmaliz Colon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: This pilot study examined the impact of playing an active videogame on executive functioning (EF) skills for children with special needs, who typically have lower EF skills. Materials and Methods: Acute EF change was measured in 36 children with a range of special needs, including mental health disorders and developmental disabilities. Participants were assigned to one of two active videogame conditions: playing alone and playing with a peer. Two different EF tasks were conducted pre- and postplay. Results: Children who played alone increased their accuracy performance more than children in the paired-play condition on two measures of EF. The study explored potential covariates of prior videogame experience, age, and enjoyment, but none of these variables related to EF change. Conclusion: This study's findings support active videogame play as an activity that can boost EF skills for children with special needs when they play alone. Future research should continue to examine the relationships between EF and active videogame play with a peer to elucidate the contributions of social interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)398-404
Number of pages7
JournalGames for Health Journal
Volume5
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

Keywords

  • Cognitive health
  • Developmental disorders
  • Exergames
  • Psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Rehabilitation
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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