A group of researchers from the University of California decided it was time to see which hidden benefits can be found in video games, and so they took their funds and best developers to create NeuroRacer. Simple in its presentation, yet powerful in its purpose: NeuroRacer had the elderly gamers follow a winding road, while they had to look out for road signs. Once they spotted one, they had to push a button as quick as possible, while steering the car safely along the road.
The researchers discovered that after six months of regular gaming, the test group was just as good at NeuroRacer than young gamers. Research also shows that the gaming activity stimulates multiple regions of the brain and improves the ability to multitask. This shows how “plastic the older brain is”, says associate professor Adam Gazzalay. Indeed, you can teach an old dog new tricks.
Of course, this research alone does not proof that gaming is beneficial for the elderly brain. What it does proof is that it does not harm your granny to pick up your DS and play some Animal Crossing. This brings me to this week’s question: do your parents or even grandparents play video games? Did you try introducing them to one of your favorite games? Tell us your stories of gaming grandpa’s in the comments below!