Paper Type

Master's Thesis


College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Tracy Alloway

Second Advisor

Dr. Katherine Hooper

Rights Statement

Department Chair

Dr. Lori Lange

College Dean

Dr. George Rainbolt


Video game popularity and time playing in children, adolescents, and adults is steadily increasing due to heightened accessibility, advanced technological game design, and a rising sedentary lifestyle among Americans. The advent of exergames and virtual reality paradigms has led to a new wave of mobile video games that can be played anywhere, involve the combination of mobility and gaming, and may be used to improve cognition, affect, and perhaps empathy. The aim of the present study was to examine if the exergame Pokémon Go would improve visual and verbal working memory, attention, positive and negative affect, and empathy. Additionally, the current study is an extension of seminal research that discovered being in nature alone has positive effects on working memory and affect. Participants (N = 62) from a Florida University were assessed on the Alloway Working Memory Assessment (AWMA), the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), and the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (IRI) before and after playing Pokémon Go outdoors around the most natural parts of the campus (e.g., ponds, dense foliage). The participants then returned several days later, completed the assessments, and spent time outdoors not playing. The study was counterbalanced over the course of a year to control for seasonal differences. Main findings included increased verbal working memory scores and decreased negative affect after playing Pokémon Go with no changes in empathy. The results have important implications for those interested in using Pokémon Go to improve working memory and decrease stress and negative affect in adult populations.