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Videogames and Fluid Intelligence P a g e | 1

Videogames and Fluid Intelligence



Newton North High School

Avianna Vyff








Abstract

This study looks at how playing online games effects short-term fluid reasoning ability. 60
people participated in the study, and were divided into 3 groups of 20. One group took a
reasoning test after playing no game, one group after playing Tetris, and one group after playing
Flappy Bird. A statistical analysis was then performed to see if any increase in ability occurred.
While there were some slight differences, only one question implied a statistically significant gap
in performance between game players and non-game players.



Videogames and Fluid Intelligence P a g e | 2


1. Introduction

Decades of research have shown that our brains, even in adulthood, are capable of rewiring
neural pathways based on changes in behavior. Although this may sound intuitive, it wasnt a
commonly held notion until the early 1900s, when Karl Lashley provided evidence of changes in
the synapses of rhesus monkeys. In the 1960s, researchers began looking at cases of adults
who suffered massive strokes, yet were able to regain functioning, demonstrating that the brain
was more malleable, or plastic, than previously believed. In modern times, people have sought
to utilize this trait to increase reasoning skills, or fluid intelligence.

According to psychologist Raymond Cattell, there are two factors of intelligence: fluid and
crystallized (Fluid and Crystallized Intelligence - Learning Cybernetics). Fluid intelligence is the
ability to think logically and solve problems in new situations, and is independent of acquired
knowledge. Because of this, it has little correlation with standardized test performance. (Trafton,
2011) Crystallized intelligence is the ability to use skills, knowledge, and experience (for
example: vocabulary), and correlates with test performance. Because crystallized intelligence is
contingent upon learning, it is possible to increase it through study (Miller, 2014). On the
contrary, fluid intelligence has long been thought to be innate and unmalleable; however, recent
studies have shown that this isnt the case. (National Science Foundation, 2008)

I hypothesize that short-term playing of videogames will not have a statistically significant effect
on fluid intelligence, because subjects will not be exposed for long enough.

2. Methods

Videogames and Fluid Intelligence P a g e | 3

This section details the experimental process, which includes materials, design, and procedure.
In order to come up with the design of my study, I perused multiple studies on the games and
intelligence (Hurley, 2012). For my experiment, I recruited participants through the internet. I,
and several of my family members, posted a link to my site in various groups. Although not
everyone who began the test completed it, I received around 90 responses. In order to increase
sampling randomization, I selected 20 participants from each category to run statistical tests on.
The test consisted of 13 questions, which covered solely fluid intelligence tasks (pattern
recognition and logic). After clicking on the Take The Test link on my website, participants
were sent to a screen showing instructions and one of three games: Tetris, Flappy Bird, or no
game. Which game loaded was determined randomly by the sites code. After playing the game
for 2 minutes, the game disappeared, and was replaced by a link to the test.

2.1 Design
I selected two general types of games: a logic game (tetris), and a mindless game (flappy
bird). This was to ascertain if and how playing different types of games would affect test
performance.

In order to analyze the overall scores, I ran an ANOVA, or analysis of variance, test. This test
determines if there is a statistically significant difference between group means (i.e. a t-test but
applied to multiple groups). (VassarStats) To analyze individual questions, I ran t-tests across
responses for each question. (Kristopher J. Preacher)

3. Results

Videogames and Fluid Intelligence P a g e | 4

Ive included a table for each category (Flappy Bird, Tetris, and No Game). Each table has the
first 20 tests submitted for that category. The complete list of all the tests completed is in
Appendix A.

Table 1 shows the Flappy Bird results, Table 2 shows the total right answers for all questions
and the average Total score.


Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5 Q6 Q7 Q8 Q9 Q10 Q11 Q12 Q13 TOTAL
P1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 11
P2 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 4
P3 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 6
P4 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 11
P5 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 6
P6 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 10
P7 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 9
P8 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 10
P9 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 8
P10 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 12
P11 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 9
P12 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 11
P13 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 7
P14 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 11
P15 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 12
P16 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 11
P17 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 9
P18 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 8
P19 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 12
P20 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 10
Table 1. Scores for Flappy Bird.

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5 Q6 Q7 Q8 Q9 Q10 Q11 Q12 Q13 AVG
TOTAL
13 15 11 18 14 13 18 13 20 19 4 15 14 9.35
Table 2. Total Correct for Flappy Bird and Average Total Score.

Q11 was the question that Flappy Bird players did the worst on. All flappy bird players answered
Q9 correctly. Demographic data is in the Appendix, but the age of Flappy Bird players ranged
Videogames and Fluid Intelligence P a g e | 5

from 17 to 59, with an average of 30. The breakdown of self-identified gender for Flappy Bird
players was 9 men, 9 women, 1 N/A, and 1 other.

No Game was my control group. No Game results are shown in Table 3 and 4.

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5 Q6 Q7 Q8 Q9 Q10 Q11 Q12 Q13 TOTAL
P1 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 8
P2 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 12
P3 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 7
P4 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 8
P5 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 8
P6 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 10
P7 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 4
P8 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 10
P9 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 9
P10 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 10
P11 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 8
P12 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 7
P13 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 11
P14 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 3
P15 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 8
P16 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 6
P17 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 11
P18
0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 5
P19 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 9
P20 1 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 9
Table 3. Scores for No Game.

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5 Q6 Q7 Q8 Q9 Q10 Q11 Q12 Q13 AVG
TOTAL
12 10 12 20 9 5 15 8 19 19 3 14 17 8.15
Table 4. Total Correct for No Game and Average Total Score.

Q11 was the hardest question for No Game players. Q9, Q10, and Q4 all had 19 or more
correct answers. . The average age for this group was 46, and ages ranged from 17-67. The
gender breakdown was 12 men and 8 women.

Videogames and Fluid Intelligence P a g e | 6

Tetris was the second game (which replaced Speed Run). Table 5 and 6 show the scores for
Tetris:

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5 Q6 Q7 Q8 Q9 Q10 Q11 Q12 Q13 TOTAL
P1 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 10
P2 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 7
P3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 13
P4 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 12
P5 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 12
P6 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 11
P7 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 11
P8 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 8
P9 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 5
P10 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 4
P11 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 10
P12 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 11
P13 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 11
P14 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 11
P15 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 6
P16 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 7
P17 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 8
P18 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 3
P19 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 4
P20 1 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 9
Table 5. Scores for Tetris.

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5 Q6 Q7 Q8 Q9 Q10 Q11 Q12 Q13 AVG
TOTAL
9 15 11 17 12 9 14 9 19 20 7 17 14 8.65
Table 6. Total Correct for Tetris and Average Total Score.

Q11 was the toughest question for Tetris players. Q9 and Q10 both had above 19 correct
responses. The average age was 35, and players ranged from 15-67. The gender breakdown
for Tetris was 12 men and 8 women.

No Game had the lowest average score of 8.15, Tetris was slightly higher with 8.65, and Flappy
Bird was the highest at 9.35. Q2, Q5, Q6, and Q8 each have a difference of at least 5 between
Videogames and Fluid Intelligence P a g e | 7

highest and lowest score. These will be the trends that I examine in the next section to evaluate
my hypothesis.

4 Analysis and Discussion
In this section I analyze the results from earlier.
4.1 Did Games Improve Test Scores
While the scores rose for games, we need to test them with statistics. The first test I ran was an
ANOVA test between the 20 scores for each of the three groups. Table 7 has the results of the
test.
Tetris No Game Flappy Bird Total
N 20 20 20 60
Total 173 163 187 523
Mean 8.65 8.15 9.35 8.72
Total Squared 1671 1433 1845 4949
Variance 9.19 5.5 5.08 6.61
Std. Dev 3.03 2.35 2.25 2.57
Std. Err 0.68 0.52 0.5 0.33

p 0.34
Table 7. ANOVA of Total Treatment.

Clearly the findings were not significant.
4.2 Did Game Use Affect Any Questions

I also looked at the individual questions asked. I used a 2 x 3 Chi Square test to evaluate each
of the thirteen questions as shown in Table 8.
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5 Q6 Q7
No Game 12 10 12 20 9 5 15
Flappy
Bird
13 15 11 18 14 13 18
Tetris 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
P 0.41 0.15 0.93 0.31 0.27 0.04 0.27
Videogames and Fluid Intelligence P a g e | 8



Q8 Q9 Q10 Q11 Q12 Q13
No Game 8 19 19 3 14 17
Flappy
Bird
13 20 19 4 15 14
Tetris 8 9 10 11 12 13
P 0.44 0.55 0.55 0.35 0.44 0.45
Table 8. Chi Square p-values for All Questions.

These results look mostly in line with my ANOVA results. Theres one exception with Question
6.

Figure 1. Q6 From The Fluid Reasoning Test.

Since Q6 shows as a significant p-value of 0.04, I ran T-tests to see if both games were
significantly different. Table 9 shows the basics of this test.

Game FB-NG FB-T NG-T
P 0.02 0.34 0.32
Table 9. T Test p-values for Q6.

Only the Flappy Bird versus No Game showed a significant difference. This might just be from
chance due to the number of tests run, but the level of significance suggests its worth exploring
in the future. So games did not help improve fluid intelligence except in this very limited
example.




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Works Cited

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M. M., & Colom, R. R. (2011). Videogame Performance (Not Always) Requires
Intelligence. International Journal Of Online Pedagogy And Course Design, 1(3), 18-32.
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Association for Psychological Science. (2013, October 8). 'Brain training' may boost working
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California Institute of Technology. (2009, March 12). Neuroscientists map intelligence in the
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Colom, R., Quiroga, M., Solana, A., Burgaleta, M., Roman, F. J., Privado, J., & ... Karama, S.
(2012). Structural changes after videogame practice related to a brain network
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Far transfer to language and math of a short software-based gaming intervention. (2014,
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Hurley, D. (2012, April 21). Can you make yourself smarter?. The New York Times. Retrieved
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Hurley, D. (2014, April 7). New studies show promise for brain training in improving fluid
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Martinez, K., Solana, A., Burgaleta, M., Hernandez-Tamames, J., Alvarez-Linera, J., Roman,
F., & ... Colom, R. (n.d). Changes in resting-state functionally connected parietofrontal
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Miller, J. (2014, March 27). This 5-step mental workout will make you smarter. Co.Create.
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Retrieved , from http://www.fastcocreate.com/3028251/this-5-step-mental-workout-will-
make-you-smarter

National Science Foundation. (2008, June 6). Plastic brain outsmarts experts: training can
increase fluid intelligence, once thought to be fixed at birth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April
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http://www.quantpsy.org/

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Intelligence - Learning Cybernetics. Retrieved May 10, 2014, from
https://sites.google.com/site/learningcybernetics/fluid-and-crystallized-intelligence
Videogames and Fluid Intelligence P a g e | 11

Appendix A

The reasoning test used for this study can be found at:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/10Q2YJ4NTQ2DX0vKhQcVfseFKKLl0MMQ3Fe3qmCy8III/view
form?sid&c=0&w=1&token

The games are available through: http://vyff.weebly.com/take-the-test.html


Videogames and Fluid Intelligence P a g e | 12

Appendix B
The full list of results used.
Gender Game Age Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5 Q6 Q7 Q8 Q9 Q10 Q11 Q12 Q13 TOTAL
male Flappy Bird 50 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 11
Male Flappy Bird 29 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 4
Male Flappy Bird 18 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 6
Male Flappy Bird 18 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 11
Female Flappy Bird 18 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 6
N/A Flappy Bird 31 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 10
female Flappy Bird 18 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 9
female Flappy Bird 38 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 10
other Flappy Bird 24 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 8
Male Flappy Bird 27 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 12
male Flappy Bird 48 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 9
Female Flappy Bird 17 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 11
female Flappy Bird 36 0 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 7
Female Flappy Bird 27 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 11
100% man Flappy Bird 17 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 12
Female Flappy Bird 34 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 11
Videogames and Fluid Intelligence P a g e | 13

Male Flappy Bird 33 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 9
Male Flappy Bird 26 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 8
f Flappy Bird 59 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 12
Female Flappy Bird 24 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 10
Male No game 32 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 8
Male No game 37 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 12
f No game 61 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 7
Male No game 37 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 8
Male No game 32 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 8
Female No game 23 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 10
F No game 69 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 4
Female No game 31 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 10
f No game 67 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 9
male No game 68 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 10
Male No game 37 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 8
f No game 17 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 7
f No game 61 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 11
Male No game 54 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 3
f No game 68 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 8
m No game 60 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 6
Videogames and Fluid Intelligence P a g e | 14

female No game 32 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 11
Male No game 27 0 0 0 1 0 0 0

1 1 0 1 1 5
m No Game 35 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 9
M No Game 61 1 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 9
Male Tetris 17 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 10
male Tetris 62 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 7
Male Tetris 17 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 13
Male Tetris 16 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 12
Male Tetris 16 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 12
Male Tetris 15 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 11
Male Tetris 15 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 11
female Tetris 15 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 8
female Tetris 16 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 5
Female Tetris 35 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 4
F Tetris 54 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 10
Male Tetris 59 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 11
F Tetris 39 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 11
M Tetris 36 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 11
female Tetris 59 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 0 6
male Tetris 45 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 7
Videogames and Fluid Intelligence P a g e | 15

male Tetris 50 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 8
Female Tetris 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 3
male Tetris 51 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 0 4
Female Tetris 67 1 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 9
Table 9. Respondent answers and demographics.