Research Article
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Published Online: 8 April 2019

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

Publication: Games for Health Journal
Volume 8, Issue Number 2

Abstract

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.

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Information & Authors

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Published In

cover image Games for Health Journal
Games for Health Journal
Volume 8Issue Number 2April 2019
Pages: 129 - 143
PubMed: 30273002

History

Published online: 8 April 2019
Published in print: April 2019
Published ahead of print: 29 September 2018

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Affiliations

Patrícia Belchior [email protected]
School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
Centre de Recherche de l'Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal; Geneva, Switzerland.
Anna Yam
Kaiser Permanent Medical Center; Geneva, Switzerland.
Kelsey R. Thomas
VA San Diego Health Care System; Geneva, Switzerland.
Daphne Bavelier
Neuroscience Center; University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.
Karlene K. Ball
Department of Psychology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama.
William C. Mann
North Florida/South Georgia VA Medical Center, Center of Innovation on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, Gainesville, Florida.
Michael Marsiske
Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Notes

Address correspondence to: Patrícia Belchior, PhD, School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, McGill University, 3654 Promenade-Sir-William Osler, Montreal H3G 1Y5 Canada [email protected]

Author Disclosure Statement

Karlene Ball owns stock in the Visual Awareness Research Group (formerly Visual Awareness, Inc.), and Posit Science, Inc., the companies that market the Useful Field of View Test and speed of processing training software (which includes the InSight training program). Posit Science acquired Visual Awareness, and Dr. Ball continues to collaborate on the design and testing of these Assessment and Training programs as a member of the Posit Science Scientific Advisory Board.
Additional study support in the form of software licenses was provided by PositScience (www.brainhq.com). San Francisco, CA. The funding sources had no involvement in research design, data collection, or data analysis. No competing financial interests exist.

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