Video Games and Academic PerformanceRonny KhadraCody HackshawLeslie MccollumCollege of Coastal Georgia
Introduction and BackgroundThe development of video games goes back to the 1940s and 1950s. Computer scientistshad started working on early stages of video games by designing simulations and artificialintelligence as part of their computer science research. It is almost impossible to point out thevery first video game produced during that time period due to the unorganized processes ofcreating video games and the lack of concern of preservation at that time, in addition to the factthat those early games were created on obsolete and unavailable computer systems. There are,however, a number of logic puzzles, board games, and military simulations that are considered tobe the first video games produced.The popularity of video games grew rapidly in the 1970s and the 1980s when theyreached the mainstream population as game consoles, and computers were introduced to thepublic. During that time, there was little variety of video game; some of the popular ones wereGun Fight, Blockbuster and Space Invaders. Space Invaders was released in 1978 and created arenaissance in the video gaming industry as it was the new hit of the time.In the last couple of decades, the popularity of video games has increased at an evergreater rate. Video games have rivaled all types of media for leisure time use. The technologicalcompetition among software manufacturers has led to an unprecedented advancement in videogames. Several platforms have been developed, and graphics have been optimized to emulatereal life images, making video games more interesting, thus attracting more hobbyists. Eightyone percent of American youth report playing at least once per month, and about 9% of 8-18years old can be considered pathological users. (Video Game Playing and AcademicPerformance in College Students, 2012) Overall, approximately 81% of 18-29 years old playvideo games. (Video Game Playing and Academic Performance in College Students, 2012)
Ever since the emergence of video games, there have been only a few research studiesconducted for the sake of finding various types of effects of video games on human behavior andcognition. There are even fewer studies conducted to examine the relationship between playingvideo games and academic performance. Most video game studies focus on the behavioral effectof video games, in particular, the effect of violent video games and their possible effect on thelevel of aggression. Playing video games is often associated in our society with poor academicperformance. This anecdotal idea is supported by some research. A 2000 study found a negativecorrelation between GPA and time spent playing video games (The Effect of Videogames onStudent Achievement, 2011). However, several older studies contend that the results of researchhave been mixed. A 1997 study suggests that “there is no clear causal relationship between videogame playing and academic performance” (The Effect of Videogames on Student Achievement,2011).In 2005, a research paper suggested that video games are changing education and thatgames are more than a simple form of entertainment. It explains that student learning can beenhanced by experiences in vast virtual worlds. It suggests that students are able to actuallyexperience and experiment with the things that they are learning rather than simply being toldthem as facts or equations (The Effect of Videogames on Student Achievement, 2011). On theother side, some research concludes there is little evidence to suggest that interactive mediaenhances the learning experience. Other sources have noted positive impacts on studentperformance. One study of a game relating to numerical analysis in an engineering curriculumfound that students experienced significantly more intellectual intensity, intrinsic motivation,positive affect and overall student engagement when completing homework (The Effect ofVideogames on Student Achievement, 2011).
MethodsTo further explore this topic, a team of researchers conducted a survey at the College ofCoastal Georgia to find out if there is a correlation between playing video games and academicperformance. We hypothesized that there is a negative correlation between playing video gamesand academic performance, that is, the more time students put into playing video games the lesssatisfactory they perform academically. To properly conduct a valid and reliable survey, wecomposed a set of questions related to the information we were seeking to collect data. Anotherimportant procedure of the survey process was choosing a random sample of the population. Thesample size was 191 students, and was taken from lower level curriculum classes, and otherlower level electives such as English 1101, Introduction to Communication, and Introduction toPsychology, to ensure the inclusion of students of different majors, thus avoiding any inadvertentbias. The participants were 18-35 years of age and were all given the survey in paper form.GPA of students was used to measure academic performance. Students were also asked about thetime they spend playing video games on daily, weekly, and monthly basis.Choosing relative statistical tools is another important step in the effort of reflecting onclear and understandable results. We chose to make a contingency table, bar charts, and piecharts to measure academic performance in relation to time spent playing video games. We alsoused a number of bar and pie charts to illustrate some interesting findings of various factspertaining to the study, such as which gender and age groups play video games most. Some ofthe survey questions asked concerned the preferred platform and the primary reasons for playingvideo games. We also asked the participants if playing video games causes them to put off doingtheir academic work and whether delaying study causes them to perform less satisfactorilyacademically.
Descriptive analysis of the demographics and video games experience revealed someinteresting findings. As the chart below indicates, the majority of video game players have aGPA above 3.0In addition, 76% of all survey participants play video games, of which 59% are males,40% females, and 1% other. As for the preferred platform, 49% of those who do play videogames prefer console, 40% prefer mobile, 10% computer, and 1% handheld. For the primaryreasons of playing video games, boredom came on top with 56.8%, and stress relief was secondwith 13%.
The below chart reflects the result of asking the question “Does playing video gamescause you to put off doing your academic work?”DOES PLAYING VIDEO GAMES CAUSE YOUTO PUT OFF DOING YOUR ACADEMICWORK?50%46.50%3.40%Yes, all the timeSometimesNeverDOES DELAYING STUDY CAUSE YOU TOPERFORM LESS SATISFACTORY ON YOURACADEMIC WORK?64%28%6.80%Yes, definitelySomewhatNot at all
Below is a bar chart of different age groups of the participants that play video games:70.00%62.30%Age Groups That Play %10.00%2.00%6.10%0.00%18-2122-2526-2930-3435 Finally, when we organized the data into a contingency table, the results were quitesurprising. The hypothesis of the link between more hours playing video games and pooreracademic performance, as measured through GPA scores, was unsubstantiated. In three differentmeasures of academic success, we were unable to relate them to hours spent playing videogames, and, therefore, it appears that there is no correlation whatsoever.As the survey suggests, a lot of students of different age groups play video games fordifferent reasons, but mostly for leisure when the video game player is bored. However, theabsence of a correlation supports the claim that previous study and research results suggesting arelationship might not be accurate. Perhaps playing video games can have different effects ondifferent people. As it diverts the focus away from academic material for some, it may work as abrain stimulant that boosts the mental capability to perform better academically for others.
Reference:Burgess, S. R., Stermer, S. P., & Burgess, M. C. (2012). Video Game Playing and AcademicPerformance in College Students. Retrieved from: l.pdfCraton, J. (2011, April 26). The Effect of Videogames on Student Achievement. Retrieved eogames-on-student-achievement/
video games and academic performance. Most video game studies focus on the behavioral effect of video games, in particular, the effect of violent video games and their possible effect on the level of aggression. Playing video games is often associated in our society with poor academic perfor