The Relationship of the Preferred Types of Digital Games and Executive Functions in 6-7-Year-Old Children
This study aimed to examine the relationship of the types of digital games preferred by preschoolers and their executive functions. For a more detailed study we created a classification of the games in question based on the content analysis of the participants’ interview, game mechanism, and the required cognitive functions. 6 types of digital games were developed: quick reaction games, logic games, educational games, strategic games, drawing games, and simulators. The overall sample comprised 335 children (48.6% girls) aged 6–7 (M=74.6 months, SD=6.06 months). The study included assessment of the executive functions and an interview about digital games. We used the NEPSY-II subtests to measure the examinees’ executive functions level: visual and verbal working memory, and inhibition. We also used “The Dimensional Change Card Sort” to assess cognitive flexibility. Data analysis revealed that quick reaction games were the most popular at this age. The next favourite were logic games, strategic games, and simulators’. The study demonstrated quick reaction game players’ visual working memory was better developed than in the non-players. Logic game players processed information at a higher speed than the non-players. Simulation game players obtained higher score in cognitive inhibition, than the children who didn’t like this type of games.
Keywords: early childhood, digital games, executive functions, quick reaction games, working memory, inhibition, cognitive flexibility, information processing speed
Journal rubric: Developmental Psychology
Article type: scientific article
For citation: Plotnikova V.A., Bukhalenkova D.A., Chichinina E.A. The Relationship of the Preferred Types of Digital Games and Executive Functions in 6-7-Year-Old Children. Psikhologicheskaya nauka i obrazovanie = Psychological Science and Education, 2023. Vol. 28, no. 4, pp. 32–51. DOI: 10.17759/pse.2023280402. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)
- Avetisova A.A. Psihologicheskie osobennosti igrokov v komp'yuternye igry [Psychological features of computer game players] // Zhurnal Vysshej shkoly ekonomiki = Psychology. Journal of the Higher School of Economics, 2011. Vol.8, no. 3, pp. 35–58. (In Russ.)
- Bezrukih M. M., Hryanin A. V., Terebova N. Vozrastnye i polovye osobennosti psihofiziologicheskoj struktury zritel'nogo vospriyatiya u detej 5-7 let [Age and gender features of the psychophysiological structure of visual perception in children 5-7 years old] // Novye issledovaniya = New research, 2013. Vol.4, no. 37, pp. 20-36. (In Russ.)
- Bogacheva N. V., Vojskunskij A. E. Kognitivnye stili i impul'sivnost' u gejmerov s raznym urovnem igrovoj aktivnosti i predpochitaemym tipom igr [Cognitive styles and impulsivity in gamers with different levels of gaming activity and preferred type of games] // Zhurnal vysshej shkoly ekonomik = Psychology. Journal of the Higher School of Economics, 2015. Vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 29-53. (In Russ.)
- Veraksa A. N., Almazova O. V., Buhalenkova D. A. Diagnostika regulyatornyh funkcij v starshem doshkol'nom vozraste: batareya metodik [Diagnostics of regulatory functions in senior preschool age: battery of techniques] // Psihologicheskij zhurnal = Psychological journal. Vol. 41, no. 6, pp. 108-118. (In Russ.)
- Vygotsky L.S. Psihologiya razvitiya rebenka [Psychology of child development.]. M.: Izd-vo Smysl, Izd-vo Eksmo, 2004. (In Russ.)
- Denisenkova N.S., Taruntaev P.I. Rol' vzroslogo v ispol'zovanii rebenkom cifrovyh ustrojstv [he role of an adult in the use of digital devices by a child ] // Sovremennaya zarubezhnaya psihologiya = Modern foreign psychology, 2022. Vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 59–67. DOI: 10.17759/jmfp.2022110205 (In Russ.)
- Klopotova E. E., Kuznecova T. Vliyanie komp'yuternyh igr na proizvol'noe vnimanie starshih doshkol'nikov [The influence of computer games on the arbitrary attention of older preschoolers] // Doshkol'noe vospitanie = Preschool education, 2018, no. 10, pp. 76-82. (In Russ.)
- Klopotova E.E., Smirnova S.YU. Rebenok v epohu cifrovyh igrushek. Obzor zarubezhnyh issledovanij [A child in the era of digital toys. Review of foreign studies ] // Sovremennaya zarubezhnaya psihologiya = Modern foreign psychology, 2022. Vol. 11, no. 2, 50–58. DOI: 10.17759/jmfp.2022110204 (In Russ.)
- Klyuchko O. I. Sovremennye trendy v izuchenii gendernoj specifiki igrovoy deyatelnosti [Modern trends in the study of gender specificity of playing activity] // Igrovaya kul'tura sovremennogo detstva = Gaming culture of modern childhood, 2021, pp. 92-96. (In Russ.)
- Komarova I. I. Cifrovaya transformaciya i detskij sad [Digital transformation and kindergarten] // Sovremennoe doshkol'noe obrazovanie = Modern preschool education, 2022, no.2, p. 4. (In Russ.)
- Smirnova E. O. Specifika sovremennogo doshkol'nogo detstva [Specificity of modern preschool childhood] // Nacional'nyj psihologicheskij zhurnal = National Psychological Journal, 2019, no. 2 (34), pp. 25-32. (In Russ.)
- Smirnova E. O., Matushkina N. YU., Smirnova S. YU. Kompyuternye I tradicionnye igry v rannem detstve [Computer and tdaditional games in early childhood] // Voprosy psihicheskogo zdorov'ya detej i podrostkov = Issues of mental health of children and adolescents, 2019. 19, no.2, pp. 33-41. (In Russ.)
- Sobkin V. S., Skobel'cina K. N. Igrovye predpochteniya sovremennyh doshkol'nikov (po materialam oprosa roditelej) [Game preferences of modern preschoolers (based on the materials of a survey of parents)] // Psihologicheskaya nauka i obrazovanie = Psychological science and education, 2011. Vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 56-67. (In Russ.)
- El'konin D.B. Psihologiya igry [Psychology of play.]. M., «Vlados», 1999. (In Russ.)
- Al-Gabbani, M., Morgan, G., & Eyre, J. A. Positive relationship between duration of action video game play and visuospatial executive function in children // 3nd International Conference on Serious Games and Applications for Health (SeGAH), 2014, 1-4. IEEE.
- Axelsson, A., Andersson, R., & Gulz, A. Scaffolding executive function capabilities via play-&-learn software for preschoolers // Journal of Educational Psychology, 2016. Vol. 108, no. 7, pp. 969.
- Bergman Nutley S., S. Söderqvist, S. Bryde, L. B. Thorell, K. Humphreys, and T. Klingberg. “Gains in Fluid Intelligence after Training Non-Auditory Reasoning in 4-Year-Old Children: A Controlled, Randomized Study: Fluid Intelligence GainsafterTraining Non-Verbal Reasoning.” // Developmental Science, 2011. Vol.14, no. 3, pp. 591–601. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-7687.2010.01022.x
- Best J. R. Relations between video gaming and children’s executive functions. // Learning by playing: Video gaming in education, 2014, pp 42-53.
- Best J.R., Miller P.H. A Developmental Perspective on Executive Function // Child development, Vol. 81, no. 6, pp. 1641–1660. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01499.x
- Blair C., Diamond, A. Biological processes in prevention and intervention: The promotion of self-regulation as a means of preventing school failure // Development and psychopathology, Vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 899-911.
- Blankson A. N., O'Brien M., Leerkes E. M., Marcovitch S., Calkins S. D. Differentiating processes of control and understanding in the early development of emotion and cognition // Social Development, 2012. Vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 1-20.
- Bodrova, E., Leong D. J. Tools of the mind. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Australia Pty Limited. 2006.
- Brito R., Dias P. Technologies and Children up to 8 Years Old: What Changes in One Year? // Observatorio, 2019. Vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 68–86. DOI: 10.15847/obsOBS13220191366.
- Bronson M. Self-Regulation in Early Childhood: Nature and Nurture. New York: Guilford Press, 2000.
- Bustamante J. C., Fernández-Castilla B., Alcaraz-Iborra M. Relation between executive functions and screen time exposure in under 6 year-olds: A meta-analysis // Computers in Human Behavior,
- Clements D. H., Sarama J., & Germeroth C. Learning executive function and early mathematics: Directions of causal relations // Early Childhood Research Quarterly,Vol. 36, pp.79-90.
- Di Lieto M. C., Pecini C., Castro E., Inguaggiato E., Cecchi F., Dario P., ... & Cioni, G. Robot programming to empower higher cognitive functions in early childhood. Smart Learning with Educational Robotics: Using Robots to Scaffold Learning Outcomes, 2019, pp. 229-250.
- Diamond A. Executive functions // Annual Review of Psychology, 2012, no. 64, pp. 135–154.
- Diamond A., Lee K. Interventions shown to aid executive function development in children 4 to 12 years old // Science, Vol. 333, no. 6045, pp. 959-964.
- Fleer M. How Conceptual PlayWorlds Create Different Conditions for Children’s Development Across Cultural Age Periods – A Programmatic Study Overview // New Ideas in Child and Educational Psychology, Vol. 2, no. 1-2, pp. 3-29. DOI: 10.11621/nicep.2022.0201
- Fleer M., Veresov N., Harrison L., Walker S. Working with teachers' pedagogical strengths: The design of executive function activities for play-based programs // Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 2017. Vol. 42, no. 4, pp. 47-55.
- Flynn R.M., Richert R.A., Staiano A.E., Wartella E., Calvert S.L., Effects of exergame play on EF in children and adolescents at a summer camp for low income youth // Journal of. Educational Psychology, Vol. 4, no.1, pp. 209.
- Gashaj V., Dapp L. C., Trninic D., Roebers, C. M. The effect of video games, exergames and board games on executive functions in kindergarten and 2nd grade: An explorative longitudinal study // Trends in Neuroscience and Education, 2021. Vol. 25.
- Goldberg T. E., Weinberger D. R. Genes and the parsing of cognitive processes // Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 2004. Vol. 8, no. 7, pp. 325–335. DOI:10.1016/j.tics.2004.05.011.
- Greenberg B. S. et al. Orientations to video games among gender and age groups // Simulation & Gaming, 2010. 41, no. 2, pp. 238-259
- Hilton C.L., Cumpata K., Klohr C., Gaetke S., Artner A., Johnson H., Dobbs S.Effects of exergaming on executive function and motor skills in children with autism spectrum disorder: a pilot study // American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 2014. Vol. 68, no.1, pp. 57–65. DOI:10.5014/ajot.2014.008664.
- Kalabina I. A., Progackaya T. K. Defining Digital Competence for Older Preschool Children // Psychology in Russia: State of the art, Vol.14, no.4, pp. 169-185.
- Karabanova O.A. Modern childhood and preschool education protecting the rights of child: to the 75th anniversary of E.O. Smirnova’s birth // National psychological journal, Vol. 3, no. 47, pp. 60–68. DOI: 10.11621/npj.2022.0308
- Konca A. S. Digital technology usage of young children: Screen time and families // Early Childhood Education Journal, Vol. 50, no. 7, pp. 1097-1108.
- Korkman M., U. Kirk, S. Kemp. NEPSY II: Administrative Manual. 2007. https://researchportal.helsinki.fi/en/publications/nepsy-ii-administrative-manual.
- Kovyazina M., Oschepkova E., Airapetyan Z., Ivanova M., Dedyukina M., & Gavrilova M. Executive functions’ impact on vocabulary and verbal fluency among mono-and bilingual preschool-aged children. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 2021. Vol.14, no.4, pp. 66-78.
- Madej K.S. Children’s Games, from Turtle to Squirtle. In: Lee N. (eds) Encyclopedia of Computer Graphics and Games // Springer, Cham, 2018. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319- 08234-9_103-2
- Medvedskaya E. I. Features of the Attention Span in Adult Internet Users // RUDN Journal of Psychology and Pedagogics, Vol. 19, no.2, pp. 304-319. DOI: 10.22363/2313-1683-2022-19-2-304-319
- McClelland M. M., C. C. Ponitz, E. E. Messersmith, and S. Tominey. Self-Regulation: Integration of Cognition and Emotion. // In The Handbook of Life-Span Development, edited by Richard M. Lerner Michael E. Lamb, and Alexandra M. 2010.
- Miyake A.,Friedman N.P., Emerson M.J., Witzki A.H., Howerter A., Wager T. The unity and diversity of executive functions and their contributions to complex “frontal lobe” tasks: A latent variable analysis // Cognitive Psychology, 2000. Vol. 41, pp. 49–100.
- Morosanova V. I., Bondarenko I. N., Fomina T. G., & Velichkovsky B. B. Executive Functions and Сonscious Self-Regulation as Predictors of Native Language Learning Success in Russian Middle School Children // Journal of Siberian Federal University. Humanities & Social sciences, Vol. 14, no. 9, pp. 1342–1354. DOI: 10.17516/1997-1370-0824
- Nilsen E. S., Graham S. A. The relations between children’s communicative perspective-taking and executive functioning // Cognitive Psychology, 2009. Vol.58, pp. 220–249. DOI:10.1016/j.cogpsych.2008.07.002
- Oei A.C., Patterson M.D., Playing a puzzle video game with changing requirements improves executive functions. // Computers in Human Behavior, 2014. Vol. 37, pp. 216–228. DOI:10.1016/j.chb.2014.04.046.
- Pittorf M. L., Lehmann W., Huckauf A. Visual working memory and perception speed of 3-to 6-year-old children tested with a Matrix Film Battery Test // Early Child Development and Care, 2014. Vol. 184, no. 6, pp. 843-854.
- Rafiei Milajerdi H., Sheikh M., Najafabadi M. G., Saghaei, B., Naghdi, N., & Dewey, D. The effects of physical activity and exergaming on motor skills and executive functions in children with autism spectrum disorder // Games for health journal, 2021. Vol.10, no.1, pp. 33-42.
- Ramos D. K., Bianchi M. L., Rebello E. R., Martins,M. E. D. O. Interventions with games in an educational context: Improving executive functions // Psicologia: teoria e prática, Vol.21, no. 2, pp. 316-335.
- Riggs N. R., Blair C. B., Greenberg M. T. Concurrent and 2-year longitudinal relations between executive function and the behavior of 1st and 2nd grade children // Child Neuropsychology, 2003. Vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 267–276. DOI:10.1076/chin.9.4.267.23513.
- Rueda M. Rosario, Puri Checa, and Lina M. Cómbita. Enhanced Efficiency of the Executive Attention Network After Training in Preschool Children: Immediate Changesand Effects AfterTwo Months // Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 2012. Vol. 2, pp. 192–204. DOI:10.1016/j.dcn.2011.09.004
- Säljö, R., & Mäkitalo, Å. Learning and development in a designed world. In Piaget and Vygotsky in XXI century: Discourse in early childhood education. Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2022, pp. 27-39.
- Skalická V. et al. Screen time and the development of emotion understanding from age 4 to age 8: A community study //British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 2019.Vol. 37, no. 3, pp. 427-443.
- Thorell L. B., S. Lindqvist, S. B. Nutley, G. Bohlin, and T. Klingberg. Training and Transfer Effects of Executive Functions in Preschool Children.// Developmental Science,Vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 106–113. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-7687.2008.00745.x
- Todd B. K., Barry J. A., Thommessen S. Preferences for «Gender-typed» Toys in Boys and Girls Aged 9 to 32 Months // Infant and Child Development, Vol.26, no. 3. DOI:10.1002/icd.1986
- Veraksa A.N., Kornienko D.S., Chichinina E.A., Bukhalenkova D.A., Chursina A.V. Correlations between Preschoolers’ Screen Time with Gender, Age and Socio-Economic Background of the Families // The Art and Science of Television, 2021. Vol.17, no. 3, pp. 179–209. DOI:10.30628/1994-9529-17.3-179-209
- Veraksa, A., Sukhikh, V., Veresov, N., Almazova, O. Which play is better? Different play types and development of executive functions in early childhood // International Journal of Early Years Education, Vol. 30, no.3, pp. 560-576.
- Veraksa N., Bukhalenkova D., Chichinina E., Veraksa A., Saljo R. Use of Digital Devices and Child Development: Digital Tools or Digital Environment? A Cultural–Historical Perspective. In Child Development in Russia: Perspectives from an international longitudinal study // Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2022, pp. 159-180.
- Veresov N., & Veraksa N. Digital games and digital play in early childhood: a cultural-historical approach // Early Years, 2022, pp. 1-13.
- Voyer D., Voyer S.D., Saint-Aubin J. Sex differences in visual-spatial working memory: A meta-analysis // Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 2017. Vol. 24, pp. 307–334. DOI:10.3758/s13423-016-1085-7
- Vygotsky L. S. Play and its role in the mental development of the child (with Introduction and Afterword by N. Veresov and M. Barrs, Trans.) // International Research in Early Childhood Education, Vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 3–25
- Willoughby M. T., Kupersmidt J. B, Voegler-Lee M. E. Is preschool executive function causally related to academic achievement? // Child Neuropsychology: A Journal on Normal and Abnormal Development in Childhood and Adolescence, 2012. Vol. 18, no.1, pp. 79–91.
- Xiong S., Zhang P., Gao Z. Effects of exergaming on preschoolers’ executive functions and perceived competence: a pilot randomized trial // Journal of Clinical Medicine, 2019. Vol. 8, no. 4, p. 469.
- Yang X., Wang Z., Qiu X., Zhu L. The relation between electronic game play and executive function among preschoolers // Journal of Child and Family Studies, 2020.Vol. 29, pp.2868-2878.
- Yeniad N., Malda M., Mesman J., van IJzendoorn M. H., Pieper S. Shifting ability predicts math and reading performance in children: A meta-analytical study // Learning and Individual Differences, 2013. Vol. 23, pp. 1–9. DOI: 10.1016/j.lindif.2012.10.004
- Zelazo P. D. The Dimensional Change Card Sort (DCCS): A Method of Assessing Executive Function in Children // Nature Protocols, 2006. Vol. 1, no.1, pp. 297–301. DOI:10.1038/nprot.2006.46.
- Zelazo P. D., Carlson S. M. Hot and cool executive function in childhood and adolescence: Development and plasticity // Child development perspectives, Vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 354-360.
Information About the Authors
Previous month: 52
Current month: 14
Previous month: 22
Current month: 1