Older Adults Playing Digital Puzzle Games Achieve Memory Comparable to 20-Year-Olds

By: | August 23rd, 2023

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Puzzles have long been associated with maintaining mental acuity. Recent research suggests that even digital brain games can support robust memory in old age. Researchers from the University of York found that older adults who regularly engage in digital puzzle games exhibit memory skills akin to those in their 20s.

Digital Brain Games: Boosting Memory in Later Years

Additionally, this study showed that individuals aged 60 and above who participated in digital puzzle games showed improved abilities to disregard irrelevant distractions. However, older adults who played strategy games did not show the same advancements in memory or focus.

Traditionally, it’s been considered that cognitive functions, such as attention span and working memory, have a tendency to decrease as individuals grow older. The optimal functioning of working memory, which involves the ability to temporarily retain and process information, usually reaches its zenith during a person’s 20s and 30s, followed by a gradual reduction over time.

This research involved both older and younger adults engaging in digital games that mirrored their usual recreational choices. This approach encompassed a diverse array of games for evaluation, coupled with a digital experiment where participants had to memorize images while dealing with distractions.

“A lot of research has focused on action games, as it is thought that reacting quickly, keeping track of targets and so on helps attention and memory, but our new analysis shows that the action elements do not seem to offer significant benefits to younger adults,” stated Dr Fiona McNab from the University of York’s department of Psychology.

The study’s authors recommend future research to investigate why game types affect different age groups differently. This inquiry could reveal if these disparities are linked to how the brain stores and processes information as people age.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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