Let your brain act younger by playing multitasking video games

Ravi Kolhe | 2/25/2014 | | |
A recent study to be published in Academic Journal Nature has uncovered a new possible application for video games. The study shows that video games can be used to boost short and long term focus in older adults. With that in mind, there’s a question rising: can video games help people’s brains act younger?

Let’s see what research says

multitasking video games
The study run by cognitive scientists from the University of California cost three hundred thousand dollars and took a sample of adults through a custom built video game. The game was designed to make people pick out road signs while driving a car, discounting signs that were of no importance while picking out significant ones.

The sample was split broadly into two areas: those in their twenties and those between sixty and eighty. The younger sample registered a twenty six percent drop in efficiency when multi tasking while the older sample immediately registered a drop of sixty four percent.

The study was repeated after the samples were trained in the use of the game over time and the results were interesting to say the least. The study noted that the older sample regained the cognitive ability of the younger sample after being exposed to the game over time. Furthermore the older sample operated at this level equal to the younger sample outside of the game environment and continued to show improvements over six months.

Videos can help train specific areas of the mind

It looks like video games can be used to train certain areas of the mind. The issue is that the best way to train the mind is still not known. Dr Daphne Bavelier, a cognitive scientist whose own research into training the brain with video games has paved the way for further study, believes that the art to training the brain effectively using video games of other interactive media is still not understood.

So called brain games designed to boost mental ability are not scrutinized enough and should be constantly altered and studied to ascertain the perfect balance to stimulate the brain. Rather than support and admit that video games are good, some people are just too focused on laying out their drawbacks.

We’re still talking about experiments

Dr Gazzaley believes that the study - entitled Neuroracer (because it’s powered by the Neuroracer video game) by the University of California - is a major leap forward but should not be used as clear definitive evidence of real world application. His opinion on the matter is that the Neuroracer study showed clear benefits for the six months after but was not an accurate depiction of the real world, being a laboratory controlled experiment. Further study is required to understand the possible real world implications of the findings.

Chief among what is to be uncovered is whether these benefits are actually permanent or long term. Whether the experiment is proof that brain boosting abilities can be achieved with video game stimulus is not proved without a doubt by Neuroracer.

The study did however use theta brain wave measuring apparatus to judge alterations in the theta brain wave (linked to attention spans) and this was indeed improved in the older sample. This gave very clear evidence that something has improved during the game. What and for how long is up for debate.

We can’t know for sure what will happen from now, however we want to hope that video games can revive the brain and make it more active. Now it’s up to the scientists to prove their allegations, and who knows, maybe at one point in the future video games will be seen as a therapeutic way of boosting the brain?

About the Author:
Christopher Austin is the writer to this article and several other articles. He loves to talk, discuss and spread awareness about anything interesting going on around us. He is also editor at a gaming site Cooking Games 365.

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