Gamers out there have probably been told many times to “grow up”, and that video games were best left for kids and not adults, but come the time when we hit the ages of 60-80, that might be a whole different story as it has been found that playing video games makes us cognitively younger. This is according to a study conducted by the University of California, San Francisco, where they had a group of 60-80 year olds play a custom game in which they tasked the players to drive a car within the game and identify road signs while ignoring others. The result basically confirms the fact that as we get old, multitasking becomes a much harder task than it used to be.
The researchers used electroencephalography to monitor their subjects while they played the game and found that the theta wave activity in their prefrontal cortexes looked like that of a younger person’s. This finding is said to help further research on which part of the brain should be tinkered with to improve memory and attention. According to Earl K. Miller (via NYTimes), the research “shows you can take older people who aren’t functioning well and make them cognitively younger through this training.”
One of the lead researchers, Daphne Bavelier, stated that while this was a pretty important breakthrough, learning how to rewire the brain properly is still in its infancy stages and that it is unclear if there will be any adverse side-effects to doing so.