Brain Training Games: Improving Memory and Attention Span

Using Technology to Enhance Brain Health

Today amazing advances in computer gaming technology offer assistance to people seeking to improve memory and attention span. The power of the Cyberworld to impact brain development attracts considerable interest on the part of psychologists, educators and other researchers fascinated by cognitive development. Progress in this field could offer some helpful assistance to people suffering from conditions that gradually impair brain functioning.

Video Games: Moderation Matters

First, it remains important to distinguish beneficial video games from damaging ones. While investigators have observed positive results from playing some types of video games, not all computer gaming activities hold equal value. In fact, some evidence suggests that protracted exposure to gaming activities in general could prove damaging.

A study released in 2010 in elementary aged children who played video games more than two hours a day indicated the youngsters demonstrated attention problems 67% more frequently. Although this research did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship, the study cautioned protracted hours of sitting in front of computer games could prove as harmful for youngsters as excessive television viewing.

Beneficial Gaming

On the other hand, a more recent investigation suggests that carefully planned computer gaming sessions may hold immense value in terms of brain health. Research conducted by the University of California, San Francisco reports that seniors who played a specially designed game called “NeuroRacer” to compel them to multi-task displayed improved memory and attention span.

British investigators released similar findings after discovering that playing strategy games online appeared to offer enhanced cognitive flexibility in some test subjects. Today, many experts surmise that challenging types of games designed to promote thinking and reaction time may actually contribute to maintaining brain health.

Recently researchers examined the brains of two groups of test subjects using magnetic resonance imaging. They found that young adults who played SuperMario 64 for thirty minutes daily displayed visible increases in brain size compared with a control group of non-gamers. These results interest many people concerned about promoting brain health.

Don’t Overlook Essentials

Hopefully, ongoing inquiry into this subject by computer scientists and others will offer greater insights into cognitive development and brain health in the near future. In the meantime, health experts advise people concerned about maintaining or improving memory and attention span to consider the importance of both intellectually stimulating activities and sleep. Obtaining sufficient sleep remains essential for good memory;insufficient sleep demonstrably impairs memory functioning.

If online gaming activities in moderation do indeed help improve memory and attention span, these forms of recreation could benefit millions of people. Young children, seniors, people afflicted with conditions that impair brain function, and others might benefit from gaming therapies in the future.