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ERIC Number: EJ1093400
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Apr
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0735-6331
Evaluating the Cognitive Consequences of Playing "Portal" for a Short Duration
Adams, Deanne M.; Pilegard, Celeste; Mayer, Richard E.
Journal of Educational Computing Research, v54 n2 p173-195 Apr 2016
Learning physics often requires overcoming common misconceptions based on naïve interpretations of observations in the everyday world. One proposed way to help learners build appropriate physics intuitions is to expose them to computer simulations in which motion is based on Newtonian principles. In addition, playing video games that require spatial processing may also facilitate the development of spatial skills that have been associated with learning in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics areas. Two studies were conducted to examine whether playing the first-person perspective puzzle game "Portal" causes improvements in physics intuitions and spatial cognition skills. In Experiment 1, college students played "Portal," the two-dimensional puzzle game "Tetris," or the anagram game "TextTwist" for 75 minutes. There were no significant differences on measures of naïve physics reasoning (selected from the Force Concept Inventory) or measures of spatial cognition (mental rotation and perspective taking). To determine whether "Portal" could influence formal physics learning, in Experiment 2 participants viewed a brief lesson on Newton's laws of motion after playing one of the three games for 1 hour. The groups did not differ on subsequent tests of physics learning. This study shows that "Portal" was not successful in priming intuitions about motion or spatial abilities related to physics learning.
SAGE Publications. 2455 Teller Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91320. Tel: 800-818-7243; Tel: 805-499-9774; Fax: 800-583-2665; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Grade 6; Intermediate Grades; Middle Schools; Elementary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Office of Naval Research (ONR); National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California
Grant or Contract Numbers: N000141110225; DGE1144085