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The role of executive control in young children's serious gaming behavior

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Computers & Education Volume 82, Number 1, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


The present study examined (1) how executive control contributed to in-game behaviors in young children while playing a serious game, (2) whether the levels of control changed when the game was played repeatedly, and (3) how the first experience with the game mediated the role of executive control to in-game behaviors when the game was repeated. Attentional and action control were directly assessed in 106 kindergartners, who played a single-leveled serious game twice. During their gameplay, the following behaviors were registered: time, number of scaffolds needed, mistakes, verbal expressions, questions, irrelevant game activities (drawings), and off-task behavior. The results for the first game round showed that time, expressions, and the need for scaffolds were predicted by attentional control. In the second round, a strong role for action control was found to overcome off-task behavior and irrelevant drawings. Verbal expressiveness was again influenced by attentional control. Moreover, mediation effects of attentional control to efficient in-game behaviors in the second gameplay were evidenced via scaffolding and expressiveness in the first gameplay. It is concluded that in new games children's attentional control contributes to formulating strategies and problem-solving, while their action control underlies sustained and goal-directed learning over time.


van de Sande, E., Segers, E. & Verhoeven, L. (2015). The role of executive control in young children's serious gaming behavior. Computers & Education, 82(1), 432-441. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved January 19, 2020 from .

This record was imported from Computers & Education on January 29, 2019. Computers & Education is a publication of Elsevier.

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