Age-Associated Capacity to Progress When Playing Cognitive Mobile Games: Ecological Retrospective Observational Study

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Bruno Bonnechère et al.

Bonnechère, B. et al. (2020) Age-Associated Capacity to Progress When Playing Cognitive Mobile Games: Ecological Retrospective Observational Study. JMIR Serious Games, 8:2. DOI: 10.2196/17121


Background: The decline of cognitive function is an important issue related to aging. Over the last few years, numerous mobile apps have been developed to challenge the brain with cognitive exercises; however, little is currently known about how age influences capacity for performance improvement when playing cognitive mobile games.

Objective: The objective of this study was to analyze the score data of cognitive mobile games over a period of 100 gaming sessions to determine age-related learning ability for new cognitive tasks by measuring the level of score improvement achieved by participants of different ages.

Methods: Scores from 9000 individuals of different ages for 7 cognitive mobile games over 100 gaming sessions were analyzed. Scores from the first session were compared between age groups using one-way analysis of variance. Mixed models were subsequently used to investigate the progression of scores over 100 sessions.

Results: Statistically significant differences were found between age groups for the initial scores of 6 of the 7 games (linear trend, P<.001). Cognitive mobile game scores increased for all participants (P<.001) suggesting that all participants were able to improve their performance. The rate of improvement was, however, strongly influenced by the age of the participant with slower progression for older participants (P<.001).

Conclusions: This study provides evidence to support two interesting insights—cognitive mobile game scores appear to be sensitive to the changes in cognitive ability that occur with advancing age; therefore, these games could be a convenient way to monitor cognitive function over long-term follow-up, and users who train with the cognitive mobile games improve regardless of age.

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JMIR Serious Games