Effect of active video games on cognitive functions in healthy children and adolescents. Systematic review of randomized controlled studies

Javier Sanchez-Martinez, David Tapia-Tapia, Ashly Villagra-Ortega, Javiera Villegas-Arriagada, Renato Monteiro-Junior

Submited: 2022-08-16 09:43:00 | Published: 2023-01-02 08:37:23

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5027/jmh-Vol20-Issue1(2023)art174

Aims: To examine the effect of active video game interventions (exergames) on cognitive functions in healthy children and adolescents. Methods: A systematic review was conducted following the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) statement, using PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science databases. The search was restricted to randomized controlled studies evaluating the effect of exergames in a young healthy population on some cognitive variable. Results: Five studies met the inclusion criteria. All studies identified an improvement in some cognitive variable after exergame interventions. Only one study implemented an acute protocol of active video games finding a positive effect on cognitive flexibility. Concerning the chronic exergame interventions (range 4–24 weeks), favorable effects on global executive functions and inhibitory control were identified. Conclusions: The results of the included studies suggest a favorable acute effect and positive chronic effects of active video game interventions on cognitive variables in healthy children and adolescents. However, these effects appear to be inconclusive given the low number of studies, and the overall methodological quality and risks of bias. Thus, it is necessary to support these findings with future research. 


Sanchez-Martinez J, Tapia-Tapia D, Villagra-Ortega A, Villegas-Arriagada J, Monteiro-Junior R. Effect of active video games on cognitive functions in healthy children and adolescents. Systematic review of randomized controlled studies. Journ. M. Health. 2023;20(1). Disponible en: doi:10.5027/jmh-Vol20-Issue1(2023)art174 [Accessed 2 feb. 2023].
Sanchez-Martinez, J., Tapia-Tapia, D., Villagra-Ortega, A., Villegas-Arriagada, J., & Monteiro-Junior, R. (2023). Effect of active video games on cognitive functions in healthy children and adolescents. Systematic review of randomized controlled studies. Journal of Movement & Health, 20(1). doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.5027/jmh-Vol20-Issue1(2023)art174

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