Playing 3D Games Can Boost Memory Function in Older Adults

Video game players can all rejoice—new research has shown that playing 3D video games can enhance memory, possibly offering a new way to maintain mental functioning as we age.  Previous studies claimed that video games encourage a sedentary lifestyle, while violent video games have been associated with aggressive behavior and diminished self-control.  However, many recent studies have shown that video games may have some health benefits.  A study published by Medical News Today earlier this year reported that Tetris could decrease cravings, while other studies showed that story-based video games could benefit people with autism. Now, a study conducted at the University of California-Irvine (UCI) shows that video games could benefit people with dementia or other cognitive conditions related to memory, enhancing memory performance by as much as 12%.

Researchers found that 3D games have more spatial information than 2D, providing the player with more to explore.  Moreover, 3D games are significantly more challenging, requiring the player to learn more.  These games stimulate cognitive processes that include visual, spatial, attentional, motivational, and emotional processes, as well as critical thinking, problem-solving, and working memory. Perhaps older adults can play 3D video games as a means of improving or maintaining their cognitive abilities.