Dec 12, 2008 Comments Off on Games for Brain Health — Novelty, Variety and Challenge
By: Alvaro Fernandez
Landmark study just published: Basak C, et al “Can training in a real-time strategy video game attenuate cognitive decline in older adults?” Psychol Aging 2008; DOI: 10.1037/a0013494.
- The team at the University of Illinois recruited 40 adults over 60 years old, half of whom were asked to play a computer game called Rise of Nations, a role-playing game in which you have to build your own empire.
- Game players have to build cities, feed and employ their people, maintain an adequate military and expand their territory.
- Both groups were assessed before, during and after the video game training on a variety of tests.
- As a group, the “gamers” became significantly better – and faster – at switching between tasks as compared to the comparison group. Their working memory, as reflected in the tests, was also significantly improved and their reasoning ability was enhanced.
- (Professor Art Kramer, an author of the study published in the journal Psychology & Aging) “This is one mode in which older people can stay mentally fit, cognitively fit. I’m not suggesting, however, that it’s the only thing they should do.”
Professor Kramer and I discussed this study last June during our conversation on Why We Need Walking Book Clubs:
Question (me): Tell us more about your work with cognitive training for older adults.
Answer (Prof Kramer): We have now a study in press where we evaluate the effect of a commercially available strategy videogame on older adults’ cognition.
Let me first give some context. It seems clear that, as we age, our Read the rest of this entry »