The influence of parental guidance on video game performance, exploration, and cortical activity in 5-year-old children

Sammy Perone, Alana J. Anderson, Philip David Zelazo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Digital games are a part of children's everyday life. Parental guidance may influence what children learn from digital games, but children also often play digital games alone. There is a need to study learning from digital games in the presence and absence of parental guidance. We compared exploration and learning to play the video game Rock Band 3 over 10 weeks at home in parent-guided (n = 25) and self-directed (n = 25) groups, relative to a control group (n = 27). We recorded the electroencephalogram (EEG) at rest to add to our understanding of the neurophysiological mechanisms involved in adapting to these learning experiences. Children in the parent-guided group explored the learning space more than children in the self-directed group, and children in the parent-guided group showed a greater capacity to learn to play a new song relative to the control group. However, improvement in performance was comparable for children in the parent-guided and self-directed groups. Learning to play the game induced change in the brain for both the parent-guided and self-directed groups. However, children in the parent-guided group showed lower EEG power relative to pre-study levels, and children in the self-directed group showed higher EEG power relative to pre-study levels. Findings shed new light on the neurophysiological mechanisms involved in adapting to learning experiences and inform our understanding of learning from digital games with and without parental guidance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101126
JournalCognitive Development
Volume60
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the children and families who made this research possible, and all the research assistants who contributed to this research. This research was made possible by an Early Childhood Research Fund grant awarded to P.Z. and S.P. from the Bezos Family Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

Keywords

  • Learning
  • Parent-child conversations
  • Resting EEG
  • Video games

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