Your brain on video games | Daphne Bavelier



Why Your Brain Games Aren’t Working

Oct 29, 2013
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If you’re sweating your way through the Sunday crossword in the hopes that it'll give your brain a boost, science says you can go back to simply reading the paper. A new study inPsychological Sciencefinds learning new, active skills are far more effective at keeping your mind sharp than crosswords, puzzles, and other common brain games.

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Researchers had 221 adults between the ages of 60 and 90 try a new skill—like digital photography, quilting, or the usual brain-boosting go-tos such as word games, social engagement, and listening to classical music—for 15 hours a week over the course of three months. Those who engaged in photography and quilting showed an increase in episodic memory (the long-term memory of past events), processing, and overall cognition. But the usual brain teasers? Not so much. In fact, there were no noticeable benefits.

Your brain’s not just being picky; activities like digital photography and quilting are examples of "productive engagement," something reserved for activities that promote active learning and continuous activation of cognitive functions like long-term memory, says study author Denise C. Park, PhD, co-director at the Center for Vital Longevity and a professor at UT Dallas. And while both groups socialized equally, only the quilting and photo groups had the added challenge of learning new things.

If quilting isn’t your thing, Dr. Park recommends doing novel things that are challenging and involve acquiring new skills, like learning a new language, picking up a musical instrument, or traveling in a foreign country—these force you to engage in sustained problem solving.

So where does that leave your trusty crossword and Sudoku puzzles? “These are passive activities that involve little new learning, often relying on world knowledge or vocabulary,” says Dr. Park. But that isn't to say you should give them up if they make you happy. "I think it's important to do something because it's fun and interesting and not focus on doing something that will improve your brain, because we still have so much to learn about what works," says Dr. Park.






Video: 10 Funny Brain Teasers to Test Whether Your Brain is Lazy or Not

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Date: 19.12.2018, 14:57 / Views: 34392