Background Music Matters: Why Strategy Video Game Increased Cognitive Control
Jiulin Zhang* and Xiaoqing Fu
School of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing-400700, China
- Corresponding Author:
- Jiulin Zhang
School of Psychology
E-mail: [email protected]
Received Date: February 01, 2015; Accepted Date: April 13, 2015; Published Date: April 15, 2015
Citation: Zhang J, Fu X (2015) Background Music Matters: Why Strategy Video Game Increased Cognitive Control. J Biomusic Eng 3:105. doi:10.4172/2090- 2719.1000105
Copyright: © 2015 Zhang J, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
For decades, the precise influence of video games on players has been acutely argued. During that time, researchers have also been unable to agree on the effects that video games have on cognitive control. Some researchers found that video games are detrimental to sustaining one’s attention span, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. Meanwhile, some other researchers have claimed that video games have a positive effect on visuospatial cognition, executive control functions, and cognitive improvement. To discover the hidden factors that cause such inconsistent results in this field while investigating the influence that video games have on one’s cognitive control in a more subtle way, this study strictly controlled the game genre, the measure of one’s cognitive control, and the background music in video games. In this study, 45 participants were randomly assigned to three groups: a control group, which required participants to use the internet to search for information related to a certain subject; a no-music game group, which required participants to play a strategy game (Command and Conquer: Red Alert 2) without earphones; and a music game group, which required participants to play the same game but with earphones to enjoy the game’s background music. All of these conditions lasted for 20 min. Before the formal experiment, all participants were asked to finish an N-back task, and their performances were used as covariates in the final analysis. After the experiment, participants were also asked to complete a color-Stroop task, and the results served as the index of their cognitive control ability. The results showed that the no-music video game can significantly improve players’ reactive control. Compared to the control group and the no-music video game group, the music video game significantly benefited the participants’ proactive control. This study indicates that when the strategy video game is played without background music, the reactive cognitive control is improved as demonstrated by other video games. The background music appears to make the strategy video game more strategic, which significantly increases proactive cognitive control ability. These results show that background music does play a crucial role in the influence of video games.