A major US insurance company has set out to prove that playing computer games can sharpen the minds of older drivers so much that they deserve discounts on their auto policies.
Allstate Insurance launched “a groundbreaking brain fitness software program” called Insight that it says has the potential to improve critical components of auto safety – drivers.
The application from San Francisco-based Posit Science is designed to reverse age-related declines in mental faculties that tend to naturally occur after people turn 50, according to Allstate.
“With this revolutionary program, we’re offering people an innovative solution in hopes of improving their personal safety and quality of life,” said Allstate research and planning vice-president Tom Warden.
“Together with Posit Science, we are embarking into an uncharted territory helping to meet the needs of a growing population.”
The number of license US drivers ages 65 and older rose 18% to 30 million during the decade leading up to 2006, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That number is expected to continue to climb as Baby Boomers become senior citizens.
Tests funded by the US National Institutes of Health show Posit software cut the number of dangerous driving maneuvers by as much as 40% and the crash rate by half.
InSight combines games dealing specifically with driving with more playful offerings such as having to remember where animated jewels are hidden beneath schools of virtual fish. Allstate will test the computer games with thousands of drivers in Pennsylvania and expand it to other US states if it proves successful.
A study released on September 25 said, that a daily dose of computer games can boost maths attainment. Learning and Teaching Scotland – the main organisation for the development of the curriculum in the country- analysed the effect of a “brain training” game. It also found improvements in pupils’ concentration and behaviour.