Wednesday, May 13, 2015

URSP Student Amanda Hardwood Examines First Person Shooter Video Games

My name is Amanda Harwood, and I’m currently conducting a Video Game training study looking at first person shooter video games as a means of training attentional control and distracter suppression and, in turn, fluid intelligence.
Why video games? I have often wondered how my brother is so smart.  He skipped class, snuck out, and played video games instead of doing homework. He also aced every test and is one of the smartest people I know.

While this project answers one of the longest standing unknown questions in my life, it is also teaching me valuable research skills, which is vital for graduate school. In order to complete this project, I am working closely with my advisor- Dr. Pamela Greenwood and many of the graduate students in the ARCH Lab. Working with her on a one-on-one basis has given me the chance to improve my writing tremendously, among other things.

This week, I will put up timeslots in Sona System to acquire participants and administer a pre-test, three days of training on Quake 3 Arena, Rise of nations, or Posit Brain Fitness, and a post-test. I am learning how to organize all the data for analyses in SPSS.  I will also be taking a class on how to program ‘R’, a fairly new tool to help collect and analyze data in Psychology.
Each time I meet with graduate students, I am amazed with the amount of time they are more than happy to spend teaching me material that will help with my project. Mason has a culture of peer-teaching of which I have been lucky enough to benefit from. Beyond that, I feel as though I have found a home in research here a Mason.