Researchers at the University of Illinois have completed a study about using video games to stimulate cognitive function in adults over 60 years old. The scientists selected a strategy game — because of its scope and the variety of different tasks involved — and trained a group of subjects on how to play. The gamers then scored better than a control group on a number of cognitive tests. Quoting: "The tests included measures of their ability to switch between tasks, their short-term visual memory, their reasoning skills and their working memory, which is the ability to hold two or more pieces of information in memory and use the information as needed. There were also tests of the subjects' verbal recall, their ability to inhibit certain responses and their ability to identify an object that had been rotated to a greater or lesser degree from its original position. The researchers found that training on the video game did improve the participants' performance on a number of these tests. As a group, the gamers became significantly better — and faster — at switching between tasks compared with the comparison group. Their working memory, as reflected in the tests, also was significantly improved. Their reasoning ability was enhanced. To a lesser extent, their short-term memory of visual cues was better than that of their peers, as was their ability to identify rotated objects."
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