NORTH DAKOTA STATE UNIVERSITY
The goal of the project is to assess the translational impact of video game training on enhancing older adults’ attention skills and to determine its ability to improve daily cognitive activities that allow older adults to maintain independence.
The project has the following specific aims:
1. Test the hypothesis that training with action video games will improve older adults’ performance on visual attention measures.
2. Test the hypothesis that training effects of video games will generalize to everyday functioning and health-related outcomes.
3. Test the hypothesis that improvements resulting from action video game training will be maintained beyond the training period.
9 participants have been enrolled in the full training protocol. Here are some initial observations.
MOT: When tracking multiple objects there is a small increase in target detection accuracy from pretest to posttest.
RSVP: When two targets, T1 and T2, are separated by a single item (conditions under which the attentional blink is the largest), T2 accuracy is higher at posttest than at pretest, suggesting that video game training may buffer against the blink effect.
Change detection: The cycles required to accurately detect a change was not impacted by training.
Project Plans. We will continue to collect data on the full protocol, with the goal of testing 30 participants by September 2011.
Project Significance. Declining mental functioning threatens older adults’ independence as much as declining physical functioning. This project aims to determine whether simple interventions like video games can enhance older adults’ cognitive and everyday functioning, thus maintaining independent living longer.