Designing Working Memory Games for Elderly

  • Antti KoivistoEmail author
  • Antero Lindstedt
  • Sari Merilampi
  • Kristian Kiili
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10056)


Working memory is of central importance for acquiring knowledge and involved in a variety of complex cognitive tasks and thus the use of working memory training games can lead to a wide range of significant impacts in peoples’ life. The aim of this study was to investigate design principles for working memory training games. A game called Brain Farmer was designed and developed as part of this study. Brain Farmer is a working memory game based on n-back working memory training protocol and it is targeted especially for older adults. Users’ playing experiences were studied and design principles were identified based on observations, user feedback, and interviews. The most important design principles were found to be the simple and easily understandable game play, adaptation of challenge level as well as clear multisensory instructions and feedback.


Game Design Near Field Communication Work Memory Training Quick Response Code Game Element 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. 1.
    Khoo, E.T., Cheok, A.D.: Age invaders: inter-generational mixed reality family game. Int. J. Virtual Real. 5(2), 45–50 (2006)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Koivisto, A., Merilampi, S., Kiili, K., Sirkka, A., Salli, J.: Mobile activation games for rehabilitation and recreational activities - exergames for the intellectually disabled and the older adults. J. Public Health Front. 2(3), 122–132 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Sirkka, A., Merilampi, S., Koivisto, A., Leinonen, M., Leino, M.: User experiences of mobile controlled games for activation, rehabilitation and recreation of the elderly and physically impaired. In: pHealth Conference 2012, Porto, PortugalGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Snowden, M., Steinman, L., Mochan, K., Grodstein, F., Prohaskam, T.R., Thurman, D.J., Brown, D.R., Laditka, J.N., Soares, J., Zweiback, D.J., Little, D., Anderson, L.A.: Effect of exercise on cognitive performance in community-dwelling older adults: review of intervention trials and recommendations for public health practice and research. J. Am. Geriatr. Soc. 59(4), 704–716 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Gao, Y., Mandryk, R.L.: The acute cognitive benefits of casual exergame play. In: Paper on The ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems CHI 2012, 5–10 May 2012, Austin, Texas, USA (2012). Accessed 3 Dec 2014
  6. 6.
    Baddeley, A.: Working memory: looking back and looking forward. Nat. Rev. Neurosci. 4(10), 829–839 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Pickering, S.J.: Working Memory and Education. Academic Press, Cambridge (2006)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Klingberg, T.: Training and plasticity of working memory. Trends Cogn. Sci. 14(7), 317–324 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Jaeggi, S.M., Buschkuehl, M., Jonides, J., Perrig, W.J.: Improving fluid intelligence with training on working memory. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 105(19), 6829–6833 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Redick, T.S., Shipstead, Z., Harrison, T.L., Hicks, K.L., Fried, D.E., Hambrick, D.Z., Kane, M.J., et al.: No evidence of intelligence improvement after working memory training: a randomized, placebo-controlled study. J. Exp. Psychol. Gen. 142(2), 359–379 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Morrison, A.B., Chein, J.M.: Does working memory training work? The promiseand challenges of enhancing cognition by training working memory. Psychon. Bull. Rev. 18(1), 46–60 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Prins, P.J.M., Dovis, S., Ponsioen, A., ten Brink, E., van der Oord, S.: Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking. 14(3), 115–122 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Merilampi, S., Sirkka, A., Leino, M., Koivisto, A., Finn, E.: Cognitive mobile games for memory impaired older adults. J. Assist. Technol. 8(4), 207–223 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Csikszentmihalyi, M.: Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Harper and Row, New York (1990)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Csikszentmihalyi, M., Abuhamdeh, S., Nakamura, J.: Flow. A general context for a concept of mastery motivation (2005)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Engeser, S., Rheinberg, F.: Flow, performance and moderators of challenge-skill balance. Motiv. Emot. 32(3), 158–172 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Kiili, K., Lainema, T., de Freitas, S., Arnabc, S.: Flow framework for analyzing the quality of educational games. Entertain. Comput. 5(4), 367–377 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Swann, C., Keegan, R.J., Piggott, D., Crust, L.: A systematic review of the experience, occurrence, and controllability of flow states in elite sport. Psychol. Sport Exerc. 13(6), 807–819 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Tombaugh, T.N., McIntyre, N.J.: The mini-mental state examination: a comprehensive review. J. Am. Geriatr. Soc. 40(9), 922–935 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Corsi, P.M.:. Human memory and the medial temporal region of the brain. Doctoral dissertation. McGill University, Montreal, CanadaGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Koivisto, A., Merilampi, S., Sirkka, A.: Mobile games individualise and motivate rehabilitation in different user groups. Int. J. Game-Based Learn. 5(2), 1–17 (2015). archiveCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Merilampi, S., Sirkka, A., Leino, M., Koivisto, A., Finn, E.: Cognitive mobile games for memory impaired older adults. J. Assist. Technol. 8(4), 207–223 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antti Koivisto
    • 1
    Email author
  • Antero Lindstedt
    • 2
  • Sari Merilampi
    • 1
  • Kristian Kiili
    • 2
  1. 1.Satakunta University of Applied SciencesPoriFinland
  2. 2.Tampere University of TechnologyPoriFinland

Personalised recommendations