Impact Factor

Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Psychol., 01 February 2013 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00031

Video games as a means to reduce age-related cognitive decline: attitudes, compliance, and effectiveness

Walter R. Boot1*, Michael Champion2, Daniel P. Blakely1, Timothy Wright1, Dustin J. Souders1 and Neil Charness1
  • 1Department of Psychology, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL, USA
  • 2Cognitive Science and Engineering, Technological Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, Arizona State University, Mesa, AZ, USA

Recent research has demonstrated broad benefits of video game play to perceptual and cognitive abilities. These broad improvements suggest that video game-based cognitive interventions may be ideal to combat the many perceptual and cognitive declines associated with advancing age. Furthermore, game interventions have the potential to induce higher rates of intervention compliance compared to other cognitive interventions as they are assumed to be inherently enjoyable and motivating. We explored these issues in an intervention that tested the ability of an action game and a “brain fitness” game to improve a variety of abilities. Cognitive abilities did not significantly improve, suggesting caution when recommending video game interventions as a means to reduce the effects of cognitive aging. However, the game expected to produce the largest benefit based on previous literature (an action game) induced the lowest intervention compliance. We explain this low compliance by participants’ ratings of the action game as less enjoyable and by their prediction that training would have few meaningful benefits. Despite null cognitive results, data provide valuable insights into the types of video games older adults are willing to play and why.

Keywords: cognitive training, video games, transfer of training

Citation: Boot WR, Champion M, Blakely DP, Wright T, Souders DJ and Charness N (2013) Video games as a means to reduce age-related cognitive decline: attitudes, compliance, and effectiveness. Front. Psychology 4:31. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00031

Received: 03 November 2012; Accepted: 14 January 2013;
Published online: 01 February 2013.

Edited by:

Shulan Hsieh, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan

Reviewed by:

Guido P. Band, Leiden University, Netherlands
Jutta Kray, Saarland University, Germany

Copyright: © 2013 Boot, Champion, Blakely, Wright, Souders and Charness. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

*Correspondence: Walter R. Boot, Department of Psychology, Florida State University, 1107 W. Call Street, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4301, USA. e-mail: boot@psy.fsu.edu