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[NATURE] Video game training enhances cognitive control in older adults

post #1 of 8
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Cognitive control is defined by a set of neural processes that allow us to interact with our complex environment in a goal-directed manner. Humans regularly challenge these control processes when attempting to simultaneously accomplish multiple goals (multitasking), generating interference as the result of fundamental information processing limitations. It is clear that multitasking behaviour has become ubiquitous in today’s technologically dense world, and substantial evidence has accrued regarding multitasking difficulties and cognitive control deficits in our ageing population. Here we show that multitasking performance, as assessed with a custom-designed three-dimensional video game (NeuroRacer), exhibits a linear age-related decline from 20 to 79 years of age. By playing an adaptive version of NeuroRacer in multitasking training mode, older adults (60 to 85 years old) reduced multitasking costs compared to both an active control group and a no-contact control group, attaining levels beyond those achieved by untrained 20-year-old participants, with gains persisting for 6 months. Furthermore, age-related deficits in neural signatures of cognitive control, as measured with electroencephalography, were remediated by multitasking training (enhanced midline frontal theta power and frontal–posterior theta coherence). Critically, this training resulted in performance benefits that extended to untrained cognitive control abilities (enhanced sustained attention and working memory), with an increase in midline frontal theta power predicting the training-induced boost in sustained attention and preservation of multitasking improvement 6 months later. These findings highlight the robust plasticity of the prefrontal cognitive control system in the ageing brain, and provide the first evidence, to our knowledge, of how a custom-designed video game can be used to assess cognitive abilities across the lifespan, evaluate underlying neural mechanisms, and serve as a powerful tool for cognitive enhancement.

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post #2 of 8
Neato!
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post #3 of 8
Dis is pretty cool.

lets hope all my jihad jeeps and tank driving in bf3 will help with getting my license! thumb.gif
     
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post #4 of 8
This tells me that the brain's ability to multitask can be improved with training over time. I tend to multitask a lot. At work and in social circles I have a reputation for being VERY productive and VERY fast(perhaps slightly less precise). I attribute this largely to multitasking and rapid task switching. I've done it for years and I do not regret it.
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post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by xlink View Post

This tells me that the brain's ability to multitask can be improved with training over time. I tend to multitask a lot. At work and in social circles I have a reputation for being VERY productive and VERY fast(perhaps slightly less precise). I attribute this largely to multitasking and rapid task switching. I've done it for years and I do not regret it.

Ask any neurologist or human behaviour / human factors expert. The human brain cannot multitask. It is impossible. Not to mention it's been proven time and time again that it's far more effective when you are focused on one task at the time production wise.
post #6 of 8
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Originally Posted by chinesekiwi View Post

Ask any neurologist or human behaviour / human factors expert. The human brain cannot multitask. It is impossible.

I can actually walk and chew gum at the same time.

I'm not going to provide video proof of it, due to privacy concerns, but I am positive you or someone you know can successfully recreate this 'impossible' feat yourself.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinesekiwi View Post

Not to mention it's been proven time and time again that it's far more effective when you are focused on one task at the time production wise.

No one is doubting this, but protracted single-minded attention to one task is not always viable, and if two or more tasks require frequent attention, it certainly seems that one's ability to switch between and manage them successfully can be improved with practice.
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post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinesekiwi View Post

Ask any neurologist or human behaviour / human factors expert. The human brain cannot multitask. It is impossible. Not to mention it's been proven time and time again that it's far more effective when you are focused on one task at the time production wise.

You cannot think two thoughts at once, but you can branch out thoughts extremely randomly. Furthermore, when stuck focusing is bad because you won't think of much more unless you're very meticulous and have a defined thought process.

(Otherwise focusing is good for simple [relative] or repetitive things like reading a book or checking a paper or doing a few chapters of math questions.)

However, you can do two things at once, which is more of what xlink was saying.

You know when things become so normal you don't even think about it, like walking, well you can walk and talk.

I've been driving for 7+ months but got my license a couple of weeks ago, I honestly say that I drive without "thinking" in a sense, I just do it, similar to walking.

I wasn't like that before though.

Ever study for a test really hard or are just naturally good at something, you don't think about the answer, it just sometimes is there straight away, like if I ask you how old you are.

The brain works weirdly, ask a three year old how old they are they might think or count, ask anyone older they'll say "24" etc.
Edited by JassimH - 9/6/13 at 4:59am
    
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post #8 of 8
It's funny how people need a "official" report for things like this to register in their heads.

It's no surprise people who play games, especially people who are really good at it, have increased reaction, response, control and attention abilities vs people who rarely or never played video games.

Wonder what's next, a report or university study that says consumption of sugary products is a source of childhood obesity? Oh wait, nvm there's a ton of those already rolleyes.gif
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