Spending hours tinkering with Angry Birds is really a enjoyable, but playing 3D computer games like Super Mario, 3D World or Batman, Arkham Asylum could help to improve your memory.
Researchers at the University of California Irvine (UCI) researched that playing 3D video games helps people appear better at memory tests.
The discovery could be used to devise new approaches to prevent or treat dementia and memory loss.
Along with adding to the trove of research that shows these games can improve eye-hand coordination and reaction time, this finding shows the potential for novel virtual approaches to helping people who lose memory as they age or suffer from dementia.
Student volunteers playing the game Super Mario 3D World boosted their performance in memory tests by around 12 percent roughly the amount it normally decreases by between the ages of 45 and 70.
Before this two week period, the students took a memory test involving a series of images of everyday objects that had to be categorized. After the video game play, the test was given again but with slightly altered images. Recognising the images have been altered is something we get worse at, as we get older.
These students got 12 per cent better at it.
The researchers found that subjects who played 3D games performed better on those memory tests than those who only played 2D games. You can see those results in how Super Mario players outperform Angry Birds players on visual memory tests over a two week period:
First, the 3D games have a few things the 2D ones do not. They have got a lot more spatial information in there to explore. Second they are much more complex with a lot more information to learn, said Clemenson.
Either way, we know this kind of learning and memory not only stimulates but requires the hippocampus, he added. The study appeared in The Journal of Neuroscience.