Does playing action video games improve performance on tests of cognitive ability? A recent meta-analysis ( Bediou et al., 2018a ) summarized the available evidence and concluded that it can. Their analysis, however, did not adequately correct for publication bias. We re-analyzed the same set of studies with more appropriate adjustments for publication bias and found minimal evidence for transfer of training to cognitive ability measures. Instead, it is possible that there are little or no benefits, just publication bias — the exclusion of non-significant results from the published literature. That bias may be the cause of a lab effect reported in the original meta-analysis. The meta-analysis showed that studies from the Bavelier lab (the senior author of the meta-analysis) reported larger effects than other labs. We show that many of these original studies distributed different outcomes from the same or highly overlapping sets of participants across publications without noting the overlap. This salami-slicing might contribute to the extent of publication bias in the literature. More compelling, independent, and transparent evidence is needed before concluding that action video game training transfers to performance on other cognitive tasks.
Few studies have used online data collection to study cognitive aging. We used a large ( N = 515) online sample to replicate the findings that inattentional blindness increases with age and with the distance of the unexpected object from the focus of attention. Critically, we assessed whether distance moderates the relationship between age and noticing. We replicated both age and distance effects, but found no age by distance interaction. These findings disconfirm a plausible explanation for age differences in noticing (restricted field of view), while for the first time highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of using Mechanical Turk for the study of cognitive aging.