Researchers in Japan have created a new game for tablets that they say can improve the processing speed among the elderly as well as reduce depression.
Scientists at the country’s Tohoku University have developed what’s known as a processing speed training game (PSTG) built around a number challenge where players have to connect numbers in an assigned order.
For example, players had to draw a line from the smallest number through to the largest number as quickly as possible.
As part of the tests, the university randomly assigned 72 adults between the ages of 60 and 75 to try either a PSTG or a knowledge quiz game for 15 minutes a day, five days a week, for a month.
The results showed that those who’d tried the PSTG had improved their processing speed and inhibitions, as well as reduced depressive moods compared to those who used the knowledge quiz.
In the past Nintendo has created so-called ‘brain training’ games that the technology giant claimed helped older players sharpen their minds by playing.
Researchers from this new study say the positive impact of such gaming is clear.
“Our results extended previous findings demonstrating that short-term processing speed training has positive effects on the cognitive functions of elderly people,” said Dr Rui Nouchi from the research team.
“To familiarise the general public with cognitive training, it is important to reduce costs for intervention and to develop user-friendly intervention tools. I believe that our study can provide new, useful and effective tools for cognitive training.”