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Digital puzzle games can boost memory in older individuals, finds study

A study has found that playing digital puzzle games can help senior citizens stay engaged and mentally active. It can also be a great way for them to socialize with others who have similar interests in gaming.

Edited By: Health Desk New Delhi Published on: August 17, 2023 12:05 IST
boost memory
Image Source : FREEPIK A new study has found that digital puzzle games can boost memory in older adults.

Digital puzzle games have been found to be beneficial for improving mental sharpness and memory in older adults. Studies have shown that playing digital puzzle games can help to increase attention, concentration, cognitive flexibility, and working memory in older adults. They also help to reduce age-related memory decline, as these games require players to remember elements of the game, pay attention to detail, and use problem-solving skills to complete the puzzles. 

In addition, studies have found that playing digital puzzle games can help senior citizens stay engaged and mentally active. It can also be a great way for them to socialize with others who have similar interests in gaming. Ultimately, digital puzzle games are a fun way for older adults to improve their cognitive abilities and maintain their memory into old age.

A recent study, from the University of York, found that adults aged 60 and over who play digital puzzle games had a greater ability to ignore irrelevant distractions, but older adults who played strategy games did not show the same improvements in memory or concentration.

Working memory is thought to peak between the ages of 20 and 30 before slowly declining as a person gets older.

"A lot of research has focused on action games, as it is thought that reacting quickly, keeping track of targets and so on helps attention and memory, but our new analysis shows that the action elements do not seem to offer significant benefits to younger adults,” said Dr Fiona McNab from the University of York’s Department of Psychology.

The study, published in the journal Heliyon, included older and younger adults playing digital games that they would normally play in their ‘real lives’.

This resulted in a wide range of games to be tested alongside a digital experiment that required participants to memorise images, whilst being distracted.

“Puzzle games for older people had this surprising ability to support mental capabilities to the extent that memory and concentration levels were the same as a 20 year-olds who had not played puzzle games,” said Dr Joe Cutting from the University of York’s Department of Computer Science.

Older people were however more likely to forget elements committed to memory whilst being distracted if they only played strategy games, and young people were less successful at focusing attention if they played only puzzle games.

Future studies could focus on why there is a difference between the impacts of types of games depending on the age of a player and if this is connected to how the brain stores information as people age, the authors wrote.

(With IANS Inputs)

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