Is There a Correlation Between Playing Different Types of Video Games and Intelligence?

March 27, 2018 Richard Justenhoven
video gaming and cognitive abilities

How Video Games Affect Intelligence

At the 20th annual congress of the society of applied psychology (the GWP) held in Wernigerode, Germany 8-10 March,2018, we were delighted to present some of the research which is core to our scientific team. This blog summarises one of these papers.

There is much discussion around the playing of video games and the link with the cognitive abilities. As innovators in online assessment, we were delighted to have Henrik Jöhnk present a study which explored the link between different video game genres (using the genre system by Egenfeldt-Nielsen, Smith and Tosca (2008)) and cognitive abilities.

The study

Participants in the study completed a questionnaire which asked about their typical video game behaviour. In addition, they completed three cut-e online assessment tests to measure the different cognitive abilities.

Correlations between the time spent on each of four genres of video game and each cognitive ability, were calculated. The study showed that:

  • Inductive-logical thinking has a medium correlation with action games, adventure games and strategy games – but not process-oriented games.
  • The ability to concentrate has a significant medium correlation with adventure games and a low to medium correlation (which is not significant) with action games. There is no correlation between strategy games or process-oriented games and the ability to concentrate.
  • Spatial reasoning capability shows no relation with any of the considered video game genres, even though one would expect it to have some connection with action games.

Jöhnk also discussed in his presentation the issues arising from this study including the need for a consistent system for video game genre classification.


Egenfeldt-Nielsen, S., Smith, J. H. & Tosca, P. S. (2008). Understanding Video Games The Essential Introduction. New York: Routledge.

About the Author

Richard Justenhoven

Richard Justenhoven is the product development director within Aon's Assessment Solutions. A leading organizational psychologist, Richard is an acknowledged expert in the design, implementation and evaluation of online assessments and a sought after speaker about such topics.

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