Video games may help older people improve cognitive functions like memory and multi-tasking, a new study has found.
The study found that the cognitive functions of older people in their 60s and 70s who were trained to play video games improved significantly.
The title used for the test, Rise of the Nations, is a strategic game that involves building cities, expanding territory and looking after citizens.
The study, due to be published in the Journal of Psychology and Aging this month, looked at 40 adults in their 60s and 70s, half of whom received 23.5 hours of training using the game. The other half had no training.
The groups were tested before, during and after the training. The researchers found that the group who were trained became significantly better and faster at switching between tasks. Their working memory and reasoning ability also improved.
However, the game had no effect on their ability to recall a list or words in order, or their ability to inhibit certain responses.
Those that were better at the game also improved most on the cognitive tests.
‘This is one mode in which older people can stay mentally fit, cognitively fit,’ said Arthur Kramer, one of the researchers. ‘I’m not suggesting, however, that it’s the only thing they should do.’