Can Video Games Improve Cognitive Abilities?
By Silverado Staff Writer
Children are often told that video games will turn their brains to mush, but one game is defying this belief and in fact, proving quite the contrary. According to an article in TIME, a new study supports a link between the Nintendo game ‘Brain Age’ and improved cognitive abilities.
In the 32-person study of older adults, participants were tested for cognitive functions and then randomly assigned to one of two groups: the ‘Brain Age group’ and the ‘Tetris group.’ Each group was then required to play their respective games for 15 minutes a day, five days a week.
The first group played the various games included in Brain Age, including activities games like word scrambles, arithmetic questions, and a simplified virtual piano. While the other group played Tetris, in which players pile up differently shaped bricks to form a solid line.
After four weeks, the two groups were again tested. The results revealed that, relative to the Tetris group, the Brain Age group showed signs of improved processing speed and executive function, which helps controls organization and memory of details.
Although the study did not specifically measure other cognitive areas, like memory, the researchers suggest that the most important conclusion was that: cognitive functions can improve in a relatively short period of time, and with something as simple as a portable gaming system.
For Nintendo fans who want to share a well-deserved “I told you so,” the complete findings can be found in the journal PLoS One.