Will the Playstation generation become better endoscopic surgeons?
Background A frequently heard comment is that the current “Playstation generation” will have superior baseline psychomotor skills. However, research has provided inconsistent results on this matter. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the “Playstation generation” shows superior baseline psychomotor skills for endoscopic surgery on a virtual reality simulator. Methods The 46 study participants were interns (mean age 24 years) of the department of surgery and schoolchildren (mean age 12.5 years) of the first year of a secondary school. Participants were divided into four groups: 10 interns with videogame experience and 10 without, 13 schoolchildren with videogame experience and 13 without. They performed four tasks twice on a virtual reality simulator for basic endoscopic skills. The one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with post hoc test Tukey-Bonferroni and the independent Student’s t test were used to determine differences in mean scores. Results Interns with videogame experience scored significantly higher on total score (93 vs. 74.5; p = 0.014) compared with interns without this experience. There was a nonsignificant difference in mean total scores between the group of schoolchildren with and those without videogame experience (61.69 vs. 55.46; p = 0.411). The same accounts for interns with regard to mean scores on efficiency (50.7 vs. 38.9; p = 0.011) and speed (18.8 vs. 14.3; p = 0.023). In the group of schoolchildren, there was no statistical difference for efficiency (32.69 vs. 27.31; p = 0.218) or speed (13.92 vs. 13.15; p = 0.54). The scores concerning precision parameters did not differ for interns (23.5 vs. 21.3; p = 0.79) or for schoolchildren (mean 15.08 vs. 15; p = 0.979). Conclusions Our study results did not predict an advantage of videogame experience in children with regard to superior psychomotor skills for endoscopic surgery. However, at adult age, a difference in favor of gaming is present. The next generation of surgeons might benefit from videogame experience during their childhood.