Cognitive Development and Gaming in the Digital Age

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The context of digital games (i.e., playing and making) may serve as a potent vehicle through which to inform researchers’, educators’, and parents’ understanding of cognitive development during the middle-childhood period. Surprisingly, studies of children during this period remain limited despite children’s increasing access to digital games inside and outside the classroom and the cognitive enhancements experienced during middle-childhood. These enhancements are demonstrated in executive functioning, metacognition, and self-regulated learning. We discuss these enhancements as impacted by digital games in the context of recent research from our labs. We conclude with directions for future research necessary to advance key stakeholders’ understanding of children’s cognitive development in the digital age and the conditions that may facilitate transfer of cognitive skills gained in digital spaces to the classroom.