Roller coaster park manager by day problem solver by night: Effect of video game play on problem solving

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences; Center for Human-Centered Computing


Do video games improve problem solving? Eighty-one participants played a roller coaster tycoon or answered a series of personality questionnaires prior to attempting insight problems. Participants played Roller Coaster Tycoon Deluxe for 30 minutes game or completed a series of unrelated questionnaires and then solved as many spatial insight problems as they could. Participants in the game condition slightly outperformed those in the control condition for insight problems, and participants who scored lower on the Cognitive Reflection Test benefited from the video game. These results provide initial support that video games can provide warm-up and practice avenues for problem solvers to develop and improve higher-level cognitive strategies that can transfer to the real world.

Publication Title

Computer-Human Interaction in Play 2017 Extended Abstracts