A recent U.S. study has shown that strategy-oriented video games can improve cognitive skills in adults in their 60s and 70s.
Research author and University of Illinois psychology professor Arthur Kramer said that initial tests brought about noticeable effects in the mental functions of older participants. The findings are the first to show such improvement in skills not directly related to those specifically learned in video games.
Subjects were tasked with playing 23.5 hours of Microsoft's real-time government and military simulation Rise of Nations
. Afterward, researchers noted improved participant performance in several tests, particularly in group activities.
Compared to a non-gaming group, test subjects who had recently played video games displayed significantly better and faster task switching capabilities, along with improved working memory and reasoning ability.
Minor improvements were also found in short-term visual memory and object identification. Video games apparently had no effect on word order memory or calculation.
The full text of Kramer and lead author Chandramallika Basak's study can be found in in month's edition of the journal Psychology & Aging.