How Games Can Boost Your Brainpower
If you suspect your memory and attention span are gradually going downhill, you might be right – but you’re definitely not alone.
At Wink Bingo we've put together an infographic to help you flex your memory muscles and reduce the effects of digital amnesia.
Research shows that as we become ever more reliant on our smartphones, tablets and other gadgets to remember things for us – from phone numbers and appointments to shopping lists and birthdays – our “memory muscles” are shrinking, causing a kind of digital amnesia.
A shocking 71% of parents now can’t recall their children’s phone number(s), despite almost half of Brits still being able to recite their home phone number from when they were between 10 and 15 years old.
Interestingly, this amnesia is more pronounced in the younger generation, with more millennials forgetting what day it is, forgetting to pick up their keys or lunch, and even forgetting to take a shower(!) than people aged 55+, although the latter are more likely to forget someone’s name.
As technology advances even further, this brain shrinkage is likely to accelerate. Sat navs, for example, are being blamed for dumbing us down. More than half of British drivers now use the devices, but sat nav drivers have been shown to be worse at noticing signs and remembering routes. It’s long been known that London cabbies have enlarged hippocampuses – the part of the brain dealing with memory and navigation – and lose this when they retire, so it seems that not using our brains to navigate and remember routes could impact this region of the brain.
This is all the more significant when we understand that the hippocampus is one of the first parts of the brain that Alzheimer’s attacks – which explains why confusion is so often a first symptom.
And sat navs aren’t the only problem. Soon, our smart homes will all be filled with smart devices – from ovens you can text to turn on or off, to fridges which will re-order our groceries when we’re running low – and our brains will have even less work to do.
So are we all doomed to become ever dumber?
Thankfully not. Studies show that exercising our brains really can keep us smarter for longer, increasing our memory recall and reaction times. We take a look at some of the best ways to put your brain in training.
You no doubt used mnemonics at school – “30 days has September…” etc – and it’s still a useful technique to remember tricky facts. Acronyms – such as Never Eat Shredded Wheat for North East South West – can be useful for shorter phrases, whereas visualisation works for more complex ideas, while rhymes can be highly memorable. Chunking – breaking complex info up into bits – can also be really useful.
Brain gamesSome games in particular are great for exercising your little grey cells. These can range from DIY games – such as the Tray Game, where you try to remember as many things as possible in a minute or so (the world record is 42) – to ready-made challenges such as Sudoku, chess (which promotes brain growth) and bingo (which can improve recall, even if you’re suffering from a cognitive disorder such as Alzheimer’s).