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PAPER PRESENTED AT THE EDMEDIA CONFERENCE JUNE 26, 2014 TEMPERE, FINLAND Cognitive Benefits of Digital Games for Older Adults Dr. David Kaufman, Professor.

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Presentation on theme: "PAPER PRESENTED AT THE EDMEDIA CONFERENCE JUNE 26, 2014 TEMPERE, FINLAND Cognitive Benefits of Digital Games for Older Adults Dr. David Kaufman, Professor."— Presentation transcript:

1 PAPER PRESENTED AT THE EDMEDIA CONFERENCE JUNE 26, 2014 TEMPERE, FINLAND Cognitive Benefits of Digital Games for Older Adults Dr. David Kaufman, Professor Faculty of Education Simon Fraser University

2 Aging Well: Can Digital Games Help? AUTHORS OF THE FULL PAPER David Kaufman, Education, Simon Fraser University, Canada, Louise Sauve, Education, TELUQ, University of Quebec / SAVIE, Canada, Lise Renaud, Communication, UQAM, Canada, Emmanuel Duplàa, Education, University of Ottawa, Canada, Simon Fraser University EdMedia June 26, 2014

3 Aging Well: Can Digital Games Help? Proportion of people aged 60 and over is growing faster than any other age group-predicted to grow to two billion worldwide by 2050 Aging older adults face declining physical and cognitive capacities, and many life changes. Successful aging – maintaining an independent, positive, healthy, and meaningful quality of life – is critical for seniors and societies. Evidence suggests that technology can provide people with meaningful and engaging activities that are stimulating and fun. Games can contribute to older adults’ happiness and life satisfaction through cognitive exercise, social interaction and physical activity. In particular, technology-based games promise many benefits to older adults, but research evidence is sparse about whether and how these can be realized. Simon Fraser University EdMedia June 26, 2014

4 Aging Well: Can Digital Games Help? One of the important factors associated with successful aging in older adults is cognitive health. It is generally accepted that aging is associated with a decline in many cognitive processes, but the extent to which this occurs, and whether it can be slowed, or even reversed, has become of interest to researchers and scientists. Digital games have the ability to stimulate many cognitive processes at once. Five varying cognitive areas have often been considered by researchers on digital games and older adults: reaction time, attention, memory, problem solving and reasoning. Simon Fraser University EdMedia June 26, 2014

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6 Aging Well: Can Digital Games Help? Four-year SSHRC-funded research project Primary objective is to examine the use of digital games to enhance older adults’ quality of life. Research questions in the overall project are: 1. Can older adults’ cognitive functioning be enhanced through the use of digital games? 2. Can older adults’ social lives be enhanced through the use of digital games? 3. What are the key implementation factors for effectively using digital games with older adults? Simon Fraser University EdMedia June 26, 2014

7 Aging Well: Can Digital Games Help? Research Questions in this Study This study explored the following questions: 1.What are the patterns of digital gameplay exhibited by older adults? 2.What are the cognitive benefits of digital gameplay reported by older adults? 3.What are the barriers to digital gameplay reported by older adults? Simon Fraser University EdMedia June 26, 2014

8 Aging Well: Can Digital Games Help? Survey of 891 older adults in Greater Vancouver Recruited from assisted living and community centres, shopping malls, and other public venues 463 of these responded to the digital gameplay section of the survey (others to non-digital games Qs) Simon Fraser University EdMedia June 26, 2014

9 Aging Well: Can Digital Games Help? Simon Fraser University EdMedia June 26, 2014 Used a print-based, mainly closed-ended, questionnaire Collected background information, digital game playing patterns and experiences, barriers, and opinions regarding social, psychological, cognitive and educational benefits.

10 Aging Well: Can Digital Games Help? Participants’ Backgrounds (n=463) Sex: Male (39%) Female (63%) Age (yrs.): 55-64(37%) 65-74(36%) 75+(25%)  Where do you live? Home (83%) Assisted-living (8%) Other(9%) Retired? Yes (80%) No (20%) Simon Fraser University EdMedia June 26, 2014

11 Aging Well: Can Digital Games Help? Participants’ Gameplay Patterns (n=463) How many years have you been playing digital games? >1 year (20%) 1-4 years (30%) years (50%) Have you played digital games in the past month? Yes (84%) No (16%) During the past month, how many days per week on average have you played digital games? 0 (12%) 1-4 (54%) 5-7 (34%) Simon Fraser University EdMedia June 26, 2014

12 Aging Well: Can Digital Games Help? Participants’ Gameplay Patterns (n=463) During the past month, when you played digital games, how many hours per day on average did you play? 1 hr or less (59%) 2-5 hrs (39%) 6-8+ hrs (2%) Have you played social games online with other players? (e.g., bridge, chess, scrabble, Facebook games) Yes (27%) No (73%) Simon Fraser University EdMedia June 26, 2014

13 Aging Well: Can Digital Games Help? Simon Fraser University EdMedia June 26, 2014

14 Aging Well: Can Digital Games Help? Greatest Reported Benefits of Playing Digital Games* Mental exercise (83%) Enjoyment (fun) (71%) Social interaction (26%) Escape from daily life (26%) Other (7%) *Respondents could select more than one benefit Simon Fraser University EdMedia June 26, 2014

15 Mental exercise (83%) Enjoyment (fun) (71%) Social interaction (26%) Escape from daily life (26%)

16 Aging Well: Can Digital Games Help? Cognitive Benefits of Digital Games % Reporting an Increase in each Cognitive Skill Focussing attention72% Memory69% Speed in reacting/responding 66% Problem Solving65% Reasoning58% Almost zero reported a decrease. Others reported no change. Simon Fraser University EdMedia June 26, 2014

17 Aging Well: Can Digital Games Help? Cognitive Benefits by Digital Gameplay Skill Level Skill Level Cognitive Skill Increase BeginnerIntermediateChi- squared p-value Focusing attention Memory Reasoning Problem-solving Reaction speed * Almost no one reported a decrease. Others stayed the same. Simon Fraser University EdMedia June 26, 2014

18 Aging Well: Can Digital Games Help? Simon Fraser University EdMedia June 26, 2014

19 Aging Well: Can Digital Games Help? Barriers Reported in Playing Digital Games % Reporting each Barrier* Too complicated21% Difficult to use controller10% Limited/No access to technology10% Privacy 5% Difficult to see/hear 0% *Respondents could select more than one barrier Simon Fraser University EdMedia June 26, 2014

20 Aging Well: Can Digital Games Help? Conclusions A large and diverse group of older adults are actively playing digital games on a regular basis. Many players report a number of cognitive benefits. There is a statistically significant positive relationship between skill level and cognitive benefits (in 5 of 6 areas) Further data analysis is being done to investigate whether there are particular groups or gameplay patterns that benefit more from digital games. Experiments are being planned to investigate the effectiveness of gameplay based on objective evaluation criteria. Simon Fraser University EdMedia June 26, 2014

21 Aging Well: Can Digital Games Help? Simon Fraser University EdMedia June 26, 2014 WoW Study

22 Bingo Study Seniors report Bingo as their most popular game We will use this game to teach health promotion knowledge and skills to seniors ABC ABC

23 Aging Well: Can Digital Games Help? Thank you to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) for the financial support for this project. Simon Fraser University EdMedia June 26, 2014

24 THE END


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