Recent study on cognitive ability of adult person shows that the brain is constantly changing in response to various experiences. New behaviors, new learnings, environmental changes, and physical injuries may stimulate the brain to create new neural pathways or reorganize existing ones. It fundamentally alters how information is processed by the brain. Cognitive scientists found the way to strengthen older brains, improve memory. They were able to measure and show changes in the brain wave activity.
Dr Adam Gazzleym neuroscientists at the university of California was studying how challenging it is to multitask successfully, particularly as people age.
He worked with developers to create NeuroRacer video game in which players drive and try to identify specific road signs that pop up on the screen, while ignoring other signs deemed irrelevant.
The study shows that people in their 20s experienced a 26 % drop in performance when they were asked to try to drive and identify signs at the same time rather than just identify the signs without driving. For people in their 60s to 80s, the performance drop was 64%.
When the older adults trained at the video game, they became more proficient than untrained people in their 20s. The performance levels of these adults were sustained for six months, even without additional training. Also, the older adults performed better at memory and attention tests outside the game.
The researchers were able to measure and show changes in brain wave activity. The study showed that this research could help understand what neurological mechanisms should and could tinker with to improve memory and attention.
The researcher found that in older participants, in their 60s to 80s, there were increases in a brain wave called theta, a low-level frequency associated with attention. When older people trained on the game, they showed increased in bursts of theta, the very types of bursts regularly seen in people in their 20s.
David E. Meyer, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan and expert in attention and aging, said the use of brain measurement tools offered important evidence that something was changing inside the brain. “Seeing is believing.”
However, Dr Gazzaley said that the findings should not be taken to suggest that any activity or video game would improve cognition or lead to brain changes. If someone tries to multitask in everyday life, his performance could remain steady or be harmed by the divided attention.