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Playing video games can help boost memory, says research

During the test of gamers and non-gamers, the gamers performed significantly better and showed an increased brain activity in the brain areas relevant to learning

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Video games help boost memory
Video games help boost memory. Pixabay
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  • Researchers have found that playing video games can help boost memory in the young as well as in the elderly
  • The gamers performed significantly better during the test of gamers and non-gamers
  • The gamers also showed an increased brain activity in the brain areas relevant to learning

London, October 2, 2017: Tired of watching your child play video games? Instead, join them, as researchers have found that playing video games can help boost memory in the young as well as in the elderly.

“Our study shows that gamers are better in analysing a situation quickly, to generate new knowledge, and to categorise facts — especially in situations with high uncertainties,” said lead author Sabrina Schenk from Ruhr-Universität, Bochum, Germany.

During the test of gamers and non-gamers, the gamers performed significantly better and showed an increased brain activity in the brain areas relevant to learning.

This kind of learning is linked to an increased activity in the hippocampus — a brain region that plays a key role in learning and memory.

“We think that playing video games trains certain brain regions like the hippocampus. That is not only important for young people, but also for older people; this is because changes in the hippocampus can lead to a decrease in memory performance. Maybe, we can treat that with video games in the future,” Schenk added.

Both teams did the so-called weather prediction task, a well-established test to investigate the learning of probabilities. The researchers simultaneously recorded the brain activity of the participants via magnetic resonance imaging.

Also read: ‘Games of Change’ Festival at New York Gives Gamers a Reality Check by Introducing Video Games based on Social and Civic Issues

The participants were shown a combination of three cue cards with different symbols. They should estimate whether the card combination predicted sun or rain and got a feedback if their choice was right or wrong.

They gradually learned, on the basis of the feedback, which card combination stands for which weather prediction.

The combinations were thereby linked to higher or lower probabilities for sun and rain.

After completing the task, the study participants filled out a questionnaire to sample their acquired knowledge about the cue card combinations.

Also, the gamers were notably better in combining the cue cards with the weather predictions than the control group. (IANS)

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Tip to Improve Memory: Start Acting Out Things That You Want to Remember!

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Tip to Improve Memory: Start acting out things that you want to remember!
Tip to Improve Memory: Start acting out things that you want to remember! Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Are you struggling with your ever increasing forgetful nature? Are you seeking tips to improve memory?  Of-late you have been feeling annoyed with yourself, maybe for forgetting to do an important task, or for leaving the house keys behind. If so, acting out things you are supposed to remember or pretending that you are actually doing it, can help you recall, suggests a research.

The findings showed that alternative enactment techniques, such as acting, can improve patients’ prospective memory — where you have not remembered to take the action you had planned.

This involves recreating an action one would like to remember, and pretending that you are actually doing it, in as much vivid detail as possible, the researchers said.

A failing prospective memory can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease, according to lead author Antonina Periera, psychologist at the University of Chichester in the UK. 

Improve Memory, Boost memory, Start acting
Tip to Improve Memory: Start acting out things that you want to remember! Image source: Wikimedia Commons.

“The study suggests that enactment techniques are effective in improving prospective memory,” she added.

In the research, published in the journal Neuropsychology, the team examined the prospective memory performance in nearly 100 participants, which included patients with mild cognitive impairment aged 64-87 years, healthy older adults aged 62-84 years and younger adults aged 2-18 years.

Participants of all age groups reported improvement in prospective memory, especially the older subjects with mild cognitive impairment in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, after the enhancement technique.

The researchers confirmed that prospective memory erodes as we get older and that enactment techniques might support those with a poor prospective memory.

Encouraging people in this category to adopt enhancement as a means to enhance prospective memory could result in them leading independent, autonomous lives for longer.

The enactment techniques “can have very long lasting effects and work even for people with cognitive impairment. Acting is the key,” Periera noted. (IANS)