CUP Undergraduate Research

Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2017

Document Type



College of Arts & Sciences



Degree Name

Psychology, BA

First Advisor

Reed Mueller, Ph.D.


As the popularity of video games has grown over the past decade, so has interest in their capacity to serve as tools for education. The technology behind modern laparoscopic surgery draws strong parallels to modern video games, and as such has inspired initial research into the potential relationship between video game play and surgical performance. To date, a number of researchers have conducted studies on this relationship; however, no structured, statistical review of accessible data has taken place. Thus, the goal of this analysis was to examine the available literature and report the significance of the cumulative findings. Through my process, a total of 21 studies involving 1220 participants were gathered through multi-step review, and organized into one of three experimental domains - game training, VR training, and gaming history. Effect size analysis using Hedge’s G and Fisher’s Z yielded statistically significant results in all three domains, thus supporting the consensus belief that video game play has a positive effect on laparoscopic surgical training and performance. Given the particularly strong effect of virtual reality training on surgical performance, it would be valuable to investigate the differential effects of virtual reality, and how these effects might be further developed into more effective educational instruments.

Included in

Psychology Commons