Cognitive functioning improvements associated with video gaming

Background

Studies have suggested that video game training improves cognitive functioning; however, the evidence is unclear.

Why is this important?

Finding new ways to improve cognitive functioning is beneficial.

What was done?

A review of every study looking at the effects of video game training on cognition was conducted.

What was found?

Video game training has beneficial effects on cognitive function.

Article Abstract
It has been suggested that video game training enhances cognitive functions in young and older adults. However, effects across studies are mixed. We conducted a meta-analysis to examine the hypothesis that training healthy older adults with video games enhances their cognitive functioning. The studies included in the meta-analysis were video game training interventions with pre- and posttraining measures. Twenty experimental studies published between 1986 and 2013, involving 474 trained and 439 healthy older controls, met the inclusion criteria. The results indicate that video game training produces positive effects on several cognitive functions, including reaction time (RT), attention, memory, and global cognition. The heterogeneity test did not show a significant heterogeneity (I2 20.69%) but this did not preclude a further examination of moderator variables. The magnitude of this effect was moderated by methodological and personal factors, including the age of the trainees and the duration of the intervention. The findings suggest that cognitive and neural plasticity is maintained to a certain extent in old age. Training older adults with video games enhances several aspects of cognition and might be a valuable intervention for cognitive enhancement.

Keywords: aging, cognitive functions, meta-analysis, moderating factors, video game training

Article Citation

Toril, P., Reales, J. M., & Ballesteros, S. (2014). Video game training enhances cognition of older adults: A meta-analytic study. Psychology And Aging, 29(3), 706-716. doi:10.1037/a0037507

Link to Full Article

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