The Empirical Analysis of Non-problematic Video Gaming and Cognitive Skills: A Systematic Review

Filip M. Nuyens, Daria J. Kuss, Olatz Lopez-Fernandez, Mark D. Griffiths

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Videogames have become one of the most popular leisure activities worldwide, including multiple game genres with different characteristics and levels of involvement required. Although a small minority of excessive players suffer detrimental consequences including impairment of several cognitive skills (e.g., inhibition, decision-making), it has also been demonstrated that playing videogames can improve different cognitive skills. Therefore, the current paper systematically reviewed the empirical studies experimentally investigating the positive impact of videogames on cognitive skills. Following a number of inclusion and exclusion criteria, a total of 32 papers were identified as empirically investigating three specific skills: taskswitching (eight studies), attentional control (22 studies), and sub-second time perception (two studies). Results demonstrated that compared to control groups, non-problematic use of videogames can lead to improved task-switching, more effective top-down attentional control and processing speed and increased sub-second time perception. Two studies highlighted the impact of gaming on cognitive skills differs depends upon game genre. The studies reviewed suggest that videogame play can have a positive impact on cognitive processes for players.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-414
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention
  • Cognitive skills
  • Task-switching
  • Time perception
  • Video games

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