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Brain-Training Games Help Prevent Cognitive Decline in Older Adults

Abstract

Older adults experience declines in a number of important cognitive functions, including processing speed, attention, working memory, and episodic memory. Due to the links between these cognitive functions and independent living, it is of great importance to investigate ways to maintain and/or improve cognitive functioning in old age. Brain-training games are attracting great interest and gaining increasing popularity among some researchers who claim that video game training benefits some aspects of cognition, while others doubt that these benefits are scientifically grounded. Here, I review some results suggesting that non-action video game interventions improve performance on the trained games and evidence that interventions improve performance on some cognitive tasks. We conclude that further research is needed to ascertain whether video game training improves cognition, especially selective attention and working memory and long-term episodic memory, as well as everyday functioning in older adults.

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Brain plasticity
  • Cognitive training
  • Selective attention
  • Video games
  • Working memory

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Acknowledgments

The research reported was supported by grants from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, MINECO (grants # PSI2010-21609-C02-01; PSI2013-41409-R and PSI2016-80377-R), and from the Council of Madrid (S-BIO/0170/2006 and P2010/BMD-2349). Lumosity provided free access to the video game training platform for the participants in the PSI2013-41409-R project. The funders and Lumosity had no role in study design, data collection and analyses, or preparation of the manuscript. I thank the UNED Associated Center Escuelas Pías (Madrid) for providing space to conduct the training sessions. I gratefully acknowledge the collaboration of the members of the Studies on Aging and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Group in the research reported in this chapter.

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Ballesteros, S. (2018). Brain-Training Games Help Prevent Cognitive Decline in Older Adults. In: Ferguson, C. (eds) Video Game Influences on Aggression, Cognition, and Attention. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-95495-0_12

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