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Cognitive skills Glossary


Focused Attention

The ability to focus attention on a single stimulus

Divided Attention

The ability to execute more than one action at a time, while paying attention to a few channels of information.


The ability to ignore irrelevant stimuli or suppress irrelevant reactions while performing a task.


The ability to respond in a flexible and adaptive manner in order to keep up with the changes in the environment.


Short-Term Memory

The ability to hold a small amount of information in a readily, available state for a short period of time.


The ability to retrieve a word from our semantic lexicon and is considered to be a basic ability.

Working Memory

Refers to the temporary storage and manipulation of the information necessary for complex cognitive tasks.

Contextual Memory

The conscious recall of the source and circumstances of a specific memory.

Visual Short-Term Memory

The ability to temporarily retain a small amount of visual information.

Non-verbal Memory

The ability to store and retrieve information which are non-verbal by nature.

Phonological Short-term Memory

The ability to remember phonological information over a brief period of time.

Sensation and Perception

Auditory perception

Auditory Perception is the ability to perceive and understand the difference between sounds.

Visual Perception

The ability to interpret information from the effects of visible light reaching the eye.

Spatial Perception

The ability to evaluate how things are arranged in space, and investigate their relations in the environment.

Visual Scanning

The ability to actively find relevant information in our surroundings quickly and efficiently.


The ability to estimate an object's future location based on its current speed and distance.

Width of Field of View

Corresponds to amount of information we receive from around when looking straight ahead.


The ability to retrieve information from the past and to recognize certain events, places or other information.

Reasoning and Comprehension

Processing Speed

Involves the ability to fluently perform easy or over-learned tasks.


The ability to "think ahead", to mentally anticipate the correct way to execute a task.


Ability to adapt behavior and thoughts to new, changing, or unexpected circumstances


Hand-eye Coordination

The level of sensitivity with which the hand and eye are synchronized.

Response Time

The ability to perceive and process a simple stimulus and respond to it.

36 Learning principles in Videogames

1. Active, Critical Learning Principle All aspects of the the learning environment are set up to encourage active and critical, not passive, learning
2. Design Principle Appreciating good design
3. Semiotic Principle Seeing interrelations within and across multiple sign systems (images, words, actions, symbols, artifacts, etc.) as a complex system is core to the learning experience
4. Semiotic Domains Principle Mastering game languages and participation in the affinity groups connected to them
5. Metalevel Thinking About Semiotic Domains Principle Relating the game world to other worlds
6. "Psychosocial Moratorium" Principle Taking risks with reduced consequences
7. Committed Learning Principle Putting out effort because they care
8. Identity Principle Combining multiple identities
9. Self-Knowledge Principle Watching their own behaviour and their current and potential capacities
10. Amplification Of Input Principle For a little input, learners get a lot of output
11. Achievement Principle intrinsic rewards from the beginning, customised to each learner's level, effort, and growing mastery and signaling the learner's ongoing achievements
12. Practice Principle Being encouraged to practice in a context where the practice is not boring
13. Ongoing Learning Principle Having to master new skills at each level, with cycles of new learning, automatization, undoing automatization, and new re-organized automatization
14. "Regime Of Competence" Principle Tasks being neither too easy nor too hard.
15. Probing Principle Learning is a cycle of probing the world (doing something); reflecting in and on this action and, on this basis, forming a hypothesis; reprobing the world to test this hypothesis; and then accepting or rethinking the hypothesis
16. Multiple Routes Principle There are multiple ways to make progress or move ahead. This allows learners to make choices, rely on their own strengths and styles of learning and problem-solving, while also exploring alternative styles
17. Situated Meaning Principle Discovering meaning of signs (words, actions, objects, artifacts, symbols, texts, etc.) situated in embodied experience
18. Text Principle Texts are not understood purely verbally but are understood in terms of embodied experience
19. Intertextual Principle Relating information
20. Multimodal Principle Meshing information from multiple media (images, texts, symbols, interactions, abstract design, sound, etc.), not just words
21. "Material Intelligence" Principle Understanding how knowledge is stored in material objects and the environment
22. Intuitive Knowledge Principle Intuitive or tacit knowledge built up in repeated practice and experience. Not just verbal and conscious knowledge is rewarded
23. Subset Principle Practicing in a simplified setting
24. Incremental Principle Being led from easy problems to harder ones
25. Concentrated Sample Principle Mastering upfront things needed later
26. Bottom-Up Basic Skills Principle Repeating basic skills in many games
27. Explicit Information On-Demand Just-In-Time Principle Receiving information just when it is needed
28. Discovery Principle Experiments and Trying rather than following instructions
29. Transfer Principle Applying learning from problems to later ones
30. Cultural Models About The World Principle Thinking about the game and the real world
31. Cultural Models About Learning Principle Thinking about the game and how they learn
32. Cultural Models About Semiotic Domains Thinking about the games and their culture
33. Distributed Principle Meaning/knowledge is distributed across the learner, objects, tools, symbols, technologies, and the environment
34. Dispersed Principle Sharing knowledge with others outside the domain/game
35. Affinity Group Principle Being part of the gaming world and affinity groups bonded by the game and not shared race, gender, nation, ethnicity, or culture
36. Insider Principle Helping others and modifying games, in addition to just playing