Topics in Cognitive Science 9 (2):413-436 (2017)

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Abstract
Video games are ideal platforms for the study of skill acquisition for a variety of reasons. However, our understanding of the development of skill and the cognitive representations that support skilled performance can be limited by a focus on game scores. We present an alternative approach to the study of skill acquisition in video games based on the tools of the Expert Performance Approach. Our investigation was motivated by a detailed analysis of the behaviors responsible for the superior performance of one of the highest scoring players of the video game Space Fortress. This analysis revealed how certain behaviors contributed to his exceptional performance. In this study, we recruited a participant for a similar training regimen, but we collected concurrent and retrospective verbal protocol data throughout training. Protocol analysis revealed insights into strategies, errors, mental representations, and shifting game priorities. We argue that these insights into the developing representations that guided skilled performance could only easily have been derived from the tools of the Expert Performance Approach. We propose that the described approach could be applied to understand performance and skill acquisition in many different video games and help reveal mechanisms of transfer from gameplay to other measures of laboratory and real-world performance.
Keywords Space Fortress  Skill acquisition  Verbal protocols  Expert Performance Approach  Video games  Expertise
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DOI 10.1111/tops.12230
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Games for Psychological Science.Andrew Howes - 2017 - Topics in Cognitive Science 9 (2):533-536.

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