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Front Psychol. 2015 Jul 24;6:1056. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01056. eCollection 2015.

Educational games for brain health: revealing their unexplored potential through a neurocognitive approach.

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Institute of Psychology and Education, Clinical and Biological Psychology, Ulm University , Ulm, Germany.
Institute of Psychology and Education, Serious Games, Ulm University , Ulm, Germany.


Educational games link the motivational nature of games with learning of knowledge and skills. Here, we go beyond effects on these learning outcomes. We review two lines of evidence which indicate the currently unexplored potential of educational games to promote brain health: First, gaming with specific neurocognitive demands (e.g., executive control), and second, educational learning experiences (e.g., studying foreign languages) improve brain health markers. These markers include cognitive ability, brain function, and brain structure. As educational games allow the combination of specific neurocognitive demands with educational learning experiences, they seem to be optimally suited for promoting brain health. We propose a neurocognitive approach to reveal this unexplored potential of educational games in future research.


brain function; brain health; brain structure; cognitive ability; education; educational games; gaming; serious games

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