Macquarie University
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The relationship between videogame use and learning to operate an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

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posted on 2022-03-28, 13:51 authored by Kyle Fitzgerald
Videogame players have been proposed as a potential recruitment population to meet the growing demand for skilled Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operators. This thesis examines the relationship between videogame use, both subjective estimates of experience and in-game performance, and performance during the initial stages of learning to operate a line-of-sight UAV. The research also explores the contributions of cognitive ability, information processing speed, similarity in task demands, and similarity in patterns of information acquisition as explanations of this relationship. Two studies were conducted. In Study 1, 41 participants completed a survey of subjective estimates of experience playing videogames, before completing assessments of cognitive ability and processing speed. Thereafter, they practiced take-offs, landings, and circuits using a simulated UAV. Accumulated, subjective estimates of lifetime experience playing action videogames explained the greatest proportion of variance in performance during the UAV flight tasks. Neither cognitive ability nor processing speed influenced this relationship. In a second study, 53 participants completed a survey of videogame experience, before playing three action videogames, during which their in-game performance was recorded. UAV performance was assessed during a UAV Test Task that followed exposure to periods of training involving take-offs and landings. Eye-movements were recorded throughout the videogame and UAV fight tasks, with subjective estimates of task demands measured following each task. In-game performance was positively associated with performance on the UAV Test Task, although a model containing both subjective estimates of action videogame experience and in-game performance explained the greatest proportion of variance in performance on the UAV Test Task. There was no evidence to suggest that this relationship was dependent upon similarities in task demands, and the results pertaining to information acquisition were inconsistent. The implications are discussed for recruitment and selection of UAV operators in the future.


Alternative Title

Videogame use and learning to operate a UAV.

Table of Contents

General introduction -- Study 1 -- Study 2 -- General discussion -- References -- Appendix.


Thesis by publication. Bibliography: pages 122-136 Running title: Videogame use and learning to operate a UAV.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis masters research


MPhil, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Psychology

Department, Centre or School

Department of Psychology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Mark Wiggins


Copyright Kyle Fitzgerald 2016. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (150 pages)

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