by Markham Heid April 10, 2013, 12:05 pm EDT
Boost your brainpower with Bejeweled. Spending a few minutes gaming on your phone can make you smarter, finds new research published inPLoS ONE.
After 4 weeks of playing phone-based games for an hour a day, 75 people significantly improved their working memory, focus, spatial memory, or multitasking ability, the research shows. At the end of the study period, the participants’ scores in multiple areas of cognition jumped by as much as 40 percent compared to pre-videogame levels.
Just as weight training pumps up your biceps, some video games are a workout for your brain, the study suggests. And you don’t have to bury your face in your phone for a full 60 minutes a day to experience the benefits, says study coauthor Michael Patterson, Ph.D., of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University. A few minutes whenever you can squeeze them in should be enough to do the trick, he says.
That brain boost can last from a few months to 2 years, says study coauthor Adam Oei, a graduate student at NTU. But you have to choose the right game to match your desired brain benefit:
- First-person shooters and action games like Modern Combat: Sandstorm ($4.99, iOS and Android) enhance your brain’s ability to quickly assess and disregard irrelevant information or distractions, according to the study. Referred to as “cognitive control,” this skill will help you ignore all the time-wasters in your inbox—or the 95 percent of that quarterly report that isn’t relevant to your job.
- To improve attention and multi-tasking ability, try shape-manipulation puzzlers like Bejeweled ($.99, iOS and Android). These games involve complex tasks that hone your brain’s ability to store and retrieve short-term memories, and also switch quickly between challenges without losing focus, the study authors say.
- Hidden-object games like Everest: Hidden Expedition (Free, iOS) improve visual search ability, the study finds. This will help your eyes more quickly locate and recognize what they’re searching for, whether you’re playing outfield and trying to hit your cut-off man or hunting for lost keys.
- Memory games like Matrix Brain (Free, iOS), boost spatial working memory. You use that brain function to remember your way around a new neighborhood or city—or to break down complex diagrams or visual data, the study explains.
source: Men’s Health News