Assessing the efficacy of a video game to enhance cognitive health in older adults

As people age, they lose some of their ability to sustain their attention and to focus on their main task while ignoring distractions. This study aimed to improve these and other related cognitive skills by using a driving game in which players practiced paying attention to relevant information, such as traffic signs, and ignoring irrelevant information, such as billboards. The study monitored brain activity and observed eye position and game performance in younger adults (ages 18 to 30) and older adults (ages 60 to 80) before and after six weeks of game play. Changes in cognitive ability, brain activity, and transfer of game-related skills to similar cognitive operations and activities that take place in daily life will all be assessed by a team of researchers at the University of California, San Francisco. In addition, the use of both neural and performance measures to guide game development and evaluation is expected to serve as a model system for the next generation of health games.

This project was funded as part of Health Games Research, a national program of the Pioneer Portfolio dedicated to funding and supporting research to advance the effectiveness of interactive games for health.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $286,661.00

Awarded on: 8/27/2009

Time frame: 9/1/2009 - 8/31/2011

Grant Number: 66724


University of California, San Francisco

513 Parnassus Avenue
San Francisco, 94143-2205


Adam Gazzaley
Project Director