You Can Teach an Old Brain Young Tricks

In recent years many educators have endorsed the benefits of video games in learning, both for younger students and at the university level. But now brain scientists have discovered that a multitasking video game can also improve the short-term and long-term focus of older adults, The New York Times reports. The study found that some people as old as 80 even showed neurological patterns of 20-year-olds after playing the game, which involved swerving around cars while simultaneously picking out road signs.

(Image via Shutterstock)
(Image via Shutterstock)
(Image via Shutterstock)

In recent years many educators have endorsed the benefits of video games in learning, both for younger students and at the university level. But now brain scientists have discovered that a multitasking video game can also improve the short-term and long-term focus of older adults, The New York Times reports. The study found that some people as old as 80 even showed neurological patterns of 20-year-olds after playing the game, which involved swerving around cars while simultaneously picking out road signs.

The research proved that multitasking becomes more difficult with age—a common worry in today’s distracting, tech-heavy world. Yet after older adults trained at the game, their multitasking improved and their brain wave activity suggested increased attention. They also showed improvements in memory outside the game in other cognitive tasks.

But even though this research is applauded as a “game changer,” neuroscientists warn that there are limits to most computer brain games—we still need scientists to develop and test effective video games. I’m guessing Super Mario won’t make the cut.

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