Monday, March 18, 2013

Bejeweled and the Brain

I’ve been playing some non-action games on my iPhone while traveling by plane to one destination or another. Bejeweled has become a favorite and I’ve been quite sure my performance has been steadily improving. Research published this month in the open-access journal PLOS ONE has concluded that different games enhance different aspects of cognition. Participants were asked to play five different games on their smartphones for an hour a day, five days a week, for one month. Participants who played games involving finding hidden objects, matching three objects (e.g., Bejeweled), and spatial memory improved their performance on visual search tasks. Participants who played an action game had improved their capacity to track multiple objects in a short span of time. But what does what? The study authors concluded that many video-game-related cognitive improvements may not be due to training of general broad cognitive systems such as executive attentional control, but instead due to frequent utilization of specific cognitive processes during game play. Either way, I like Bejewled . . .

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