A new study finds playing 3D video games improves memory in as little as two weeks, which is great news for fighting the memory loss that comes with aging.

A new study from a team of neurobiologists at University of California, Irvine reports that playing 3D games can improve memory formation. The findings, according to the researchers, can be used to help fight dementia and memory loss.

The researchers culled together a handful of non-gaming college students and split them into two groups and had them play video games for 30 minutes per day for two weeks. One group played a two-dimensional game, Angry Birds, while the other played a more involved, three-dimensional game, Super Mario 3D World.

Before and after the gaming period, the researchers gave each student a memory test that engaged their brain’s hippocampus, the area associated with learning and memory. By the end of the test, those who played 3D games saw an improvement in their scores, while those who played 2D games did not. One of the researchers, Craig Stark, shared his thoughts about the results:

“First, the 3-D games have a few things the 2-D ones do not. They’ve got a lot more spatial information in there to explore. Second, they’re much more complex, with a lot more information to learn. Either way, we know this kind of learning and memory not only stimulates but requires the hippocampus.”

Seniors Playing Video Games

Those who played video games saw a 12 percent improvement in recall and memory ability by the end of the study. That’s the same amount that memory normally reduces from ages 45 to 70. It would seem, then, that those looking to fight memory loss that comes with aging can look to video games for help. Stark seems to agree:

“Can we use this video game approach to help improve hippocampus functioning? It’s often suggested that an active, engaged lifestyle can be a real factor in stemming cognitive aging. While we can’t all travel the world on vacation, we can do many other things to keep us cognitively engaged and active. Video games may be a nice, viable route.”

The researchers mention that there are already many known methods to increasing memory and cognitive ability, including staying physically active. Now it looks like people have additional entertainment options for improving memory as they age. While it doesn’t necessarily negate the need for physical stimulus, it’s nice to know drudging through the world of Mario or Fallout 4 have positive ramifications on a person’s health.

What do you think about the results of this study? Does this motivate you to play more video games? Let us know in the comments.

Source: Journal of Neuroscience