Anthony "Tony" Magestro--or known on the field of battle as Metzge--is an avid writer, gamer, and entrepreneur. When he's not writing, gaming, or entrepreneuring, he enjoys cooking, trippy movies, and trying to be awesome to varying degrees of success. Feel free to check out his LinkedIn page, especially if you need freelance help with content writing or digital marketing. Or just like to network, that's fine too.
A new study published in Nature has concluded that video games can improve your daily life, specifically with regards to your cognitive capabilities. Adam Gazzaley, a neuroscientist from the University of California, San Francisco who led the study found that if a game targets a specific deficit–such as decreased multitasking abilities–it can be used to retrain these skills, as well as improve non-targeted areas as well.
Gazzaley used a game called NeuroRacer, a game where players control a car with their left thumb and shooting signs that would pop up with their right, on two groups in his study: the first group comprised of 30 participants, ranging from their 20s to 70s, confirming that the ability to multitask deteriorates with age. The second group comprised of 46 participants, aged 60 to 85, and were “trained” on the game for four weeks, however this version became more difficult as the player improved.
After the four week period, the second group then competed with a group of untrained 20-year-olds and not only managed to achieve higher scores than them, but their multitasking capabilities remained for six months later without any practice.
Other cognitive tests were also administered, though not targeted specifically by the game, such as memory and sustained attention. Turns out that as their skills increased, so too did brain activity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the area that governs cognitive control.
It’s no news that games have improved one’s ability to multitask, but this is the first legitimate study that not only proves that claim, but that it retrains older brains as well and provides many mental health benefits. That said, we’ll probably be seeing more brain-training games in the future as more studies on how video games affect the human mind are conducted.