There may be a new market for video games: octogenarians.
Brain scientists have discovered that swerving around cars while simultaneously picking out road signs in a video game can improve the short-term memory and long-term focus of older adults. Some people as old as 80, the researchers say, begin to show neurological patterns of people in their 20s.
Cognitive scientists say the findings, to be published Thursday in the scientific journal Nature, are a significant development in understanding how to strengthen older brains. That is because the improvements in brain performance did not come just within the game but were shown outside the game in other cognitive tasks.
Further supporting the findings, the researchers were able to measure and show changes in brain wave activity, suggesting that this research could help understand what neurological mechanisms should and could be tinkered with to improve memory and attention.
The research “shows you can take older people who aren’t functioning well and make them cognitively younger through this training,” said Earl K. Miller, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was not affiliated with the research. “It’s a very big deal.”
- A multitasking video game makes old brains act younger (ndtv.com)
- Computer Game-Playing Shown to Improve Multitasking Skills (scientificamerican.com)
- Racy video game makes older adults better multitaskers (nbcnews.com)
- Video Game May Erase Effects of Aging on the Brain (news.health.com)
- You Can Teach an Old Brain Young Tricks (techonomy.com)
- Video Games May Help Memory of Older Players, Study Finds – Bloomberg (bloomberg.com)
- Multitasking After 60: Video Game Boosts Focus, Mental Agility (wnyc.org)