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Leveraging On Serious Games to Sharpen Brain’s Visual System

Via: SharpBrains Blog - Alvaro Fernandez from SharpBrains interviews Tom Warden, Assistant Vice President and Leader of Allstate’s Research and Planning Center, on a groundbreaking brain fitness software program -- InSight.

Early October,
Allstate Insurance Company and brain fitness software developer Posit Science announced a new pilot program called InSight - that sharpens your brain’s visual system while you have fun - to help improve older drivers' safety.

Allstate Corp. wants to find out whether playing these Serious Games can enhance mental agility enough to turn people over 50 into better drivers.

Under this program, Allstate will offer specialized computer games to 100,000 customers in Pennsylvania aged 50 to 75. The games' developer, San Francisco-based Posit Science, will track the total number of hours these drivers play.

Then the group's accident rates will be compared to a control group of people who do not play the games.

The games are not all specific to driving. They're designed to reverse age-related cognitive decline and improve visual alertness.

The software includes five exercises.

In one designed to improve visual processing speed, drivers take a trip on Route 66 from California to Illinois. Along the way, they have to spot various cars on the road and signs on the edges of the screen.
In another exercise to enhance such skills as visual precision, participants are photographers taking pictures of birds in Florida, California, and Costa Rica. To get the shots, participants have to locate the right bird among a group of similar birds when they flash quickly on screen.

In a third game called "Jewel Diver" players keep track of underwater jewels that pop up on the screen for a moment before they are hidden under fish swimming around. When the fish stop moving, players click on the fish hiding the jewel. Over time, the game gets more complicated as more fish appear on the screen.

The Northbrook-based home and auto insurer will soon begin the Pennsylvania test which runs through March 2009. Then, Allstate will determine whether to roll it out in other states.

While Allstate said it is offering the program to make roads safer, it is also considering offering discounts to drivers who use the InSight exercises.

Tom Warden, Assistant Vice President and Leader of Allstate’s Research and Planning Center, the executive who leads the initiative, said the company chose Posit's technology because it is based on nine years of research into how older drivers' brain fitness might be improved.

About Posit Science

Posit Science is a leading provider of clinically validated brain fitness products and services. The company works with more than 50 scientists from prestigious universities to design and test its computer-based programs.

More than 30 published studies show that the company's patented technologies significantly increase the brain's processing speed, improve memory, and enhance the quality of everyday life.

Posit Science has received numerous grants, awards and accolades from organizations including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Society for Aging (ASA), and CNBC.