Research: Bejeweled Blitz Makes Oldsters ‘Sharper’

A new survey commissioned by PopCap Games and conducted by University of Massachusetts Amherst psychology researcher Susan K. Whitbourne, Ph.D. that compared the gaming habits of older and younger players who play Bejeweled Blitz regularly felt mentally "sharper." The findings of the survey of 10,000 U.S. adults were presented at the American Psychological Association's (APA) annual convention in Washington D.C. The survey investigated the feasibility of Bejeweled Blitz as a cognitive training tool for older adults.

Of those surveyed, 47 percent of adults over the age of 50 reported feeling sharper while performing other tasks and 23.9 percent of adults over 65 felt their ability to see patterns improved.

PopCap says that this survey is the first in a series that hopes to examine the cognitive value of videogame play on an older audience. Whitbourne believes that Bejeweled Blitz is a "plausible platform for improving cognitive skills because it requires several of the skills that have been shown to be improved in action video games."

Respondents 50 and older were included when examining the perceived impact of Bejeweled Blitz on cognition. Of adults 50 and older 47.2 percent perceived feeling sharper in performing other tasks, while adults 65 and older felt an improvement in their ability to see patterns (22.4 percent) and an improvement in the ability to perform timed tasks more quickly (23.9 percent).

The survey polled of 10,331 adults (83 percent female), ages 18 to 80. 4,234 (41 percent) participants were ages 50 and over. The majority of all adults (78.6 percent) had at least a college education. The first question of the survey asked participants to indicate whether they played Bejeweled Blitz. Those who did were directed to the next survey of questions. Participants were recruited via a blog posting on the Psychology Today website that contained a link to the online survey.

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