View the video
Playing a car-racing video game boosted older adults’ brainpower, scientists report in the Sept. 5 Nature. The results suggest that brain training games might stave off mental decline that comes with age.
Cognitive neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley of the University of California, San Francisco and colleagues created a video game called NeuroRacer. Participants drove a car on a narrow, windy road and distracting signs popped up. Older people were worse at the game than younger people, the team found.
Science News headlines, in your inbox
Headlines and summaries of the latest Science News articles, delivered to your email inbox every Thursday.
Thank you for signing up!
There was a problem signing you up.
But after playing for 12 hours over a month, volunteers between ages 60 and 85 got so good at the game that they beat 20-year-olds playing it for the first time. And the benefits stayed for at least 6 months, even though the older volunteers had stopped playing NeuroRacer.
Other mental functions also improved: Lab tests revealed that participants’ working memory increased, as did attention.
The NeuroRacer video game challenges drivers to pilot a car on a windy road while looking out for signs. Playing the game boosted older adults’ memory and attention.
Credit: The Gazzaley Lab