Video games may improve brain aging

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fireside 141 Sep 04, 2013 at 18:44 gaming

Discuss link: Video games may improve brain aging (www.usatoday.com)

Looked like a pretty bad game designed by scientists. The car didn’t even look like it was using a physics engine.

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Reedbeta 167 Sep 04, 2013 at 19:34

Yeah, the graphics and physics look totally crappy, but the point of it wasn’t to be a “good” video game in the standard sense. The article says they spent a year designing it for their specific purpose of improving cognitive skills in the elderly. I’d look on it as a design prototype at this stage, not a finished game.

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fireside 141 Sep 04, 2013 at 20:53

I’d look on it as a design prototype at this stage, not a finished game.

Yeah, I think they could still make it a little more “immersive”. I noticed they didn’t test it against some standard driving game to see if it was any better either. I’d like to see it compared to Super Tux Cart.

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Reedbeta 167 Sep 04, 2013 at 21:16

@fireside

I noticed they didn’t test it against some standard driving game to see if it was any better either.

It’s possible they compared it against other games in the actual study, even though they didn’t mention it for the news article. I couldn’t find a link to the actual study with a quick search, though. I wish news articles about scientific advances would link to the studies they’re reporting on.

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fireside 141 Sep 04, 2013 at 22:35

I found another article on it.

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/video-game-boosts-mental-abilities-older-folks-20155632

It only covered 16 people so I doubt there was any testing against a normal driving game. I, personally, have my doubts the results would have been much different. One person was disappointed she had to give the computer back, which might suggest she wasn’t doing a lot of activity along those lines before the test.

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TheNut 179 Sep 05, 2013 at 03:39

“I went through 22 levels. By the end, we were really cooking along”
Hah, I love that gradma talk. Although that quote I believe is the important matter the research fails to address. Any game over time will become repetitive. The conscious mind shuts down and the subconscious kicks in. At that point you have a mindless husk sitting in front of the monitor as the day comes and goes. IMO the real stimulation comes from the initial experience. Doing something completely new and interesting such that you establish a mental contract to provide conscious thought in return for some reward, be it entertainment or some other satisfaction.

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fireside 141 Sep 05, 2013 at 10:24

Doing something completely new and interesting such that you establish a mental contract to provide conscious thought in return for some reward, be it entertainment or some other satisfaction.

I agree. It’s just plain learning that keeps the mind young. It’s easy to stop doing that as we age, just like not getting enough exercise, etc. I think games are useful because they don’t have the stigma related to failure. Our society has a near crazy obsession with failure.