Cognitive aging: using games to explore strategies to keep brains healthy

Sunday, October 28th, 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Room 301AB
Anne Collins McLaughlin
Maribeth Gandy

Does the brain stay plastic into old age? Can “cognitive training” really help healthy seniors remain independent, even into their 90s? Anne McLaughlin and Maribeth Gandy are using gaming technology to explore these questions. They aim to refine a body of work showing that sustained, challenging cognitive training can help older people reverse mental declines. They say few studies have explored the real-life problem of motivation: Are social rewards or good-for-you messages really enough to get people to do the hard, long-term work required for results? Gandy, who designs augmented reality systems and games, says much of the research into so-called rehab games treats the individual “like a cog in the therapeutic machine.” Together McLaughlin and Gandy are probing age, gender and other differences in how people use technology and hoping to find reward strategies that work.

Attendees who register at the CASW website can download background material and the presentation at