To investigate whether surgical simulation performance and previous video gaming experience would correlate with higher motivation to further train a specific simulator task and whether visual-spatial ability would rank higher in importance to surgical performance than the above. It was also examined whether or not motivation would correlate with a preference to choose a surgical specialty in the future and if simulator training would increase the interest in choosing that same work field.
Motivation and general interest in surgery was measured pre- and post-training in 30 medical students at Karolinska Institutet who were tested in a laparoscopic surgical simulator in parallel with measurement of visual-spatial ability and self-estimated video gaming experience. Correlations between simulator performance metrics, visual-spatial ability and motivation were statistically analyzed using regression analysis.
A good result in the first simulator trial correlated with higher self-determination index (r =-0.46, p=0.05) in male students. Visual-spatial ability was the most important underlying factor followed by intrinsic motivation score and finally video gaming experience (p=0.02, p=0.05, p=0.11) regarding simulator performance in male students. Simulator training increased interest in surgery when studying all subjects (p=0.01), male subjects (p=0.02) as well as subjects with low video gaming experience (p=0.02).