Hasan Onur Keleş1, Ahmet Omurtag2

1Department of Biomedical Engineering, Ankara University, Ankara, Türkiye
2Department of Biomedical Engineering, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, United Kingdom


Objective: Video games can be a valuable tool for surgery training. Individuals who interact or play video games tend to have a better visuospatial ability when compared to non-gamers. Numerous studies suggest that video game experience is associated with faster acquisition, greater sharpening, and longer retention of laparoscopic skills. Given the neurocognitive complexity of surgery skill, multimodal approaches are required to understand how video game playing enhances laparoscopy skill.

Material and Methods: Twenty-seven students with no laparoscopy experience and varying levels of video game experience performed standard laparoscopic training tasks. Their performance, subjective cognitive loading, and prefrontal cortical activity were recorded and analyzed. As a reference point to use in comparing the two novice groups, we also included data from 13 surgeons with varying levels of laparoscopy experience and no video game experience.

Results: Results indicated that video game experience was correlated with higher performance (R2 = 0.22, p< 0.01) and lower cognitive load (R2 = 0.21, p< 0.001), and the prefrontal cortical activation of students with gaming experience was relatively lower than those without gaming experience. In terms of these variables, gaming experience in novices tended to produce effects similar to those of laparoscopy experience in surgeons.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that along the dimensions of performance, cognitive load, and brain activity, the effects of video gaming experience on novice laparoscopy trainees are similar to those of real-world laparoscopy experience on surgeons. We believe that the neural underpinnings of surgery skill and its links with gaming experience need to be investigated further using wearable functional brain imaging.

Keywords: Mental workload, NASA-TLX, laparoscopy, surgical education

Cite this article as: Keleş HO, Omurtag A. Video game experience affects performance, cognitive load, and brain activity in laparoscopic surgery training. Turk J Surg 2023; 39 (2): 95-101.


Ethics Committee Approval

This study was approved by İstanbul Medipol University Non-Invasive Clinical Research Ethics Committee (Decision no: 577, Date: 17.07.2019).

Peer Review

Externally peer-reviewed.vvvvv

Author Contributions

Concept - HOK, AO; Design - HOK, AO; Supervision - HOK; Funding - HOK; Data Collection and/or Processing - HOK; Analysis and/or Interpretation - HOK, AO; Literature Review - HOK; Writer - HOK, AO; Critical Review - AO.

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Financial Disclosure

The authors declared that this study has received no financial support.