Video Games

Want to Make an Old Brain Act Young Again? Play This Video Game!


credit: williamcromar / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Old and busted: Video games rot the minds of teenagers.

New hotness: Specially designed video games make elderly brains act young again. The New York Times reports on a new study set to be published in the journal Nature

Brain scientists have discovered that swerving around cars while simultaneously picking out road signs in a video game can improve the short-term memory and long-term focus of older adults. Some people as old as 80, the researchers say, begin to show neurological patterns of people in their 20s.

Cognitive scientists say the findings, to be published Thursday in the scientific journal Nature, are a significant development in understanding how to strengthen older brains. That is because the improvements in brain performance did not come just within the game but were shown outside the game in other cognitive tasks.

Further supporting the findings, the researchers were able to measure and show changes in brain wave activity, suggesting that this research could help understand what neurological mechanisms should and could be tinkered with to improve memory and attention.

The research "shows you can take older people who aren't functioning well and make them cognitively younger through this training," said Earl K. Miller, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was not affiliated with the research. "It's a very big deal."

One caveat is that so far the findings only apply to games designed specifically to increase cognitive performance. Sadly, there's still no word yet on whether or not playing Skyrim makes you smarter. 

NEXT: Hundreds of NSA Documents To Be Released Because of Lawsuit

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  1. I used to have the neurological patterns of a person in his 20s, but then I took an arrow to the knee.

    1. You’re still spouting Skyrim memes?


      1. I read Skyrim and the looked to make sure Suderman wrote this.

      2. You’re still spouting Skyrim memes?

        You say that as if there is more then one skyrim meme.

      3. It seems cool.I am playing Dragon’s Call II,It’s an exciting and thrilling MMO game. We have prepared handsome gifts for new players.more free online games at powerdoggames

  2. PS4 goes on my Dad’s xmas list this year.

  3. What about games to control, rather improve, cognitive performance?

    1. Those are called ‘Politics’

    2. Obedience III – How servile can YOU get?

      1. I obeyed the president fifty times in one hour!

  4. “Sadly, there’s still no word yet on whether or not playing Skyrim makes you smarter. “

    Just a matter of time, once they figure out what types of things actually work to improve brain performance you’ll tend to see those elements enter most games in some form

  5. One of the reasons I justify my continued immaturity is that it keeps my reflexes sharp. If I consistently end my BF3 rounds in the top third or even #1 on the board, I figure it’s keeping senility away.

    At least that’s what I would tell my wife or girlfriend… if I had one.

    1. See you are hitting the point on this.

      The problem which was stated in an article about how FBI agents make more intellectual fallacies than on crime cases than college students. The reason for that is when you get older you get lazy. You start taking short cuts.

      A lot of old people’s issues is a mindset and just getting lazy. My father-in-law was a really smart person when he was young….at least that is what i am told. Now he is absolutely stupid because he chooses to be. He can’t even be bothered to even use his brain.

      Hell i am in my mid 20s and i find myself even being lazy in the process of my thinking…granted i am generally a lazy people but it is getting worse.

  6. If only masturbation made you smarter.

    1. Sad Beard would be the genius he thinks he is?

      1. SadBeard thinks? I thought he just reacted like an amoeba or Hugh.

        1. His brain works like this: It has one half with a good idea and one half with a bad idea. The half with the good idea is eaten by the half with the bad idea, which metabolizes and totally destroys the good idea half. Then it divides into two parts, each having a good idea and a bad idea. The bad idea gene is so dominant that there is no phenotypical manifestation of the good idea gene.

        2. There’s a light source over here. What’s going on?

    2. The current trend is to speak in terms of multiple varieties of intelligence, such as Spacial Intelligence, Body Intelligence, Logical Intelligence, etc. Clearly we need to add Masturbatory Intelligence… (wait for it…) in which category most elected officials are certified geniuses.

      1. The Bene Gesserit train acolytes–including the rare male–to masturbate by just using the local muscles. No hands. They can, of course, use prana bindu techniques to give themselves oral sex, but that’s an entirely different matter. Altogether.

        1. Continue…

          1. First, the gom jabbar test.

  7. This picture must be from the VR stoneage.

    1. Isn’t there a rumor that the PS4 will have a VR interface, at least as an option?

      1. Word is the PS 5 is being designed with an actual vagina.

        1. This would result in the end of civilization.

          1. It’s coming, with VR and haptic interfaces, and you are completely right.

      2. VR is only for us PC elitist snobs, not for you inferior console types!

        No VR for you!

          1. Bah! That thing is for console babies! It’s probably like 50*30 pixels and in black and white!

            1. In theory, I agree with you and the PC cult, but I’ve got a PS3 in my bedroom, and it’s not too bad.

              1. I’m seriously thinking about buying a PS4. I have an Xbox 360 now. Like the Xbox, it will be mostly something for when we have guests.

                1. I use the PS3 for apps, too, since my bedroom TV isn’t set up for such things. So some limited browsing when I want to watch videos in 32″ HD, Amazon Instant Video, etc. It’s also a Blue-ray player, though that’s less of an advantage these days.

                  We also have a 360, which I play on less these days. We do play some Kinect games from time to time. Those are often hit or miss, but a few are good fun when we have company.

              2. In theory, I agree with you and the PC cult, but I’ve got a PS3 in my bedroom, and it’s not too bad.

                It’s awesome considering it’s practically 10 yr old technology.

              3. I joined the PC cult and built a gaming PC like a week ago…

                Then installed Linux on it.


                note: do not buy an AMD radeon GPU card for a linux box…the drivers suck. Get a nVidia.

                Note2: anyone looking for a barely used Radeon 7770 GPU card cheap?

          2. Even though I’m just messing with you, Oculus has a huge head start on them, and if they say that thing will be released in fall 2014, you’re probably looking at 2016. Also, last time Sony ventured into the 3D market, it was a huge flop.

            1. I’m not the BUY NEW TECHNOLOGY FIRST! type, so I’ll just sit back and see what develops.

              1. Neither am I. I’m an early adopter, but not a first buyer. That’s for the rich kids that want bragging rights, hey look what I got! The new 4000 pixel Sony TV! For only the price of a new car!

                1. I really don’t get it with TVs, where you can get something good enough for pretty danged cheap.

  8. Suderman you really are a worthless hack. DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY JOHN MCCAIN PLAYING POKER JOKES ARE POSSIBLE WITH THIS STORY. Damn your eyes.

  9. Brain scientists have discovered…

    It’s not rocket surgery.

  10. Why use video games to improve your brain when there is a centuries old medication that does the same?

    Let me explain. Every morning a gazelle wakes up in Africa and knows that if it isn’t fast enough it will get killed and eating. Every morning a lioness wakes up and knows that if she isn’t fast enough to catch a gazelle she will not eat and eventually die. Survival of the fittest. The fastest & healthiest gazelles /lions are the ones that survive.

    Now apply that logic to your brain cells (the role of the gazelle) with alcohol (the lioness). The more you drink the more of you kill off the feeble cells. Ergo, you are left with the good cells only and end up a genius?.

    1. you are left with the good cells only and end up a genius?.

      I know a few long time hardcore drinkers with whom I can effectively demonstrate, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that your theory is way off.

      1. Clearly, your friends failed to drink enough.

        1. I knew you were going to say that.

          1. A priori knowledge is like that.

          2. Your theory of self is strong.

        2. ProL got it right.. Or your friends have too many stupid cells and not enough of the good ones…

          Yeah, something like that…

    2. So you have 100 people.

      10 of them are super smart

      60 of them are average

      30 or them are dumb asses.

      Do you really think if you fired the 30 dumbasses your factory would produce more?

      This is why France has such a high productivity rate yet such a low GNP.

      All the dumb asses are at home doing nothing.

  11. You know you’d think, with all the bullshit studies that claim to show significant findings in their summaries but turn out to be crap when others look into the issue more deeply, that Reason wouldn’t be jumping in on the media shitstorm surrounding this one.

    Here’s a good rule of thumb for the editors – if a ‘science’ story is being touted on your local news channel, then its waaaaaaaay to early for laypeople to even start paying attention to it.

    1. What are you talking about? I just saw breaking news that Voyager I is about to leave the solar system!

      1. I saw that same News 5 years ago. Clearly, it’s been ‘about’ to leave the Solar System since it was first launched.

        When does it actually leave? When it gets to Proxima Centauri?

        1. Auric and I have been bitching about it through at least three waves of this being announced as breaking news.

          What makes it worse is that there is every reason to dispute using the heliosphere as the outer edge of the solar system, when we have significant mass orbiting the sun beyond that point.

  12. Please tell me you didn’t just begin this post with an MiB II reference… yep you did. Damn you Suderman, damn you to hell.

  13. swerving around cars while simultaneously picking out road signs in a video game

    So Grand Theft Auto?

    Driving over hookers is the same thing as picking out road signs right?

    If not then how about shooting cops from the driver side window?

  14. One of the reasons I justify my continued immaturity is that it keeps my reflexes sharp. If I consistently end my BF3 rounds in the top third or even #1 on the board, I figure it’s keeping senility

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