Computer and Videogame Interventions for Older Adults' Cognitive and Everyday Functioning

Academic Article


  • Objective: This study compared older adults' gains in cognitive and everyday functioning after a 60-session home-based videogame intervention with gains seen under formal cognitive training and usual care/no intervention. Materials and Methods: Participants were randomized to one of three groups: one group played an off-the-shelf videogame (i.e., Crazy Taxi), the second group engaged in a computerized training program focused on visual attention and processing speed (i.e., PositScience InSight), and the third group received no training. Training in the two intervention conditions consisted of 60 training sessions of 1 hour each, which were completed in 3 months (5 hours a week). Participants received a broad battery of cognitive and everyday functioning assessments immediately before (pretest), after (post-test), and 3 months after (follow-up) training. Results: Both training conditions improved on direct assessments of trained outcomes. In the InSight-trained group, we found transfer to untrained measures of visual attention and processing speed that were similar to the trained tasks, and these gains endured for up to 3 months. Participants in the videogame condition showed small additional benefits, not emerging until 3 months after intervention completion, on a measure of both attention and mood. No trained groups showed gain on visuospatial skills or memory. Conclusion: Training effects were highly specific to the target of training. Training effects to visual attention and processing speed were, as expected, larger for InSight-trained participants but were also seen for videogame participants. Given that past research has shown that videogame training leads to greater engagement than cognitive training, videogame interventions may represent a choice for more modest gains in a more engaging context.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Belchior P; Yam A; Thomas KR; Bavelier D; Ball KK; Mann WC; Marsiske M
  • Start Page

  • 129
  • End Page

  • 143
  • Volume

  • 8
  • Issue

  • 2