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The Effects of Video Game Experience on
Computer-Based Air Traffic Controller Specialists,
Air Traffic Scenario Test Scores

The FAA is currently using the Air Traffic Scenario Test (ATST) as a major portion of its selection process. Because the ATST is a PC-based application with a strong resemblance to a video game, concern has been raised that prior video game experience might have a moderating effect on scores. Much of the previous research in this area is associated with topics such as the moderating effect of prior computer experience on scores earned on computerized versions of traditional achievement or power tests (Lee, 1986), and the effects of practice on video games on individual difference tests for constructs such as spatial ability (Dorval & Pepin, 1986; Lohman, 1979). The effects of computer or video game experience on work sample scores have not been systematically investigated. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the incremental validity of prior video game experience over that of general aptitude as a predictor of work sample test scores. The Computer Use Survey was administered to 404 air traffic control students who entered the FAA ATCS Nonradar Screen. The resultant responses from this survey related to video games were summed and averaged to create the predictor (VIDEO). Self-reported experience on video games was found to be significantly related to ARVDELAY and HNDDELAY, accounting for an additional 3.6% of the variance in ARVDELAY, and accounting for an additional 9% of the variance in HNDDELAY. The results suggested that those persons with video game experience were more efficient at hand-offs and routing aircraft. Future research is recommended to investigate the effect of prior video game experience on learning curves and strategies used in the work sample test.