Video games and 3D/virtual reality (VR) generally have a bad reputation from health professionals as being negative influences on people’s overall wellness. However, an increasing number of medical studies are finding these technologies actually have some benefits. A recent study by Craig Stark and Dane Clemenson at the University of California-Irvine discovered 3D games could help people with dementia or other conditions associated with memory loss.
In the study, participants were split into groups and asked to play either 3D or 2D games for 30 minutes daily over the course of two weeks. The subjects were then given multiple memory retention tests. Researchers found those who played the 3D games versus the 2D games performed better in memory recall and retention; 12% better to be exact.
This is an interesting correlation, as professionals estimate the average rate for memory loss for individuals between 45-70 years of age is also 12%. Therefore, it is suggested 3D technology could assist in decreasing the loss of cognitive functioning as people age.
So why 3D?
3D games and videos have more spatial information in them and are more complex; they draw on many cognitive processes, including:
Many of these processes are triggered or correlate to the hippocampus; an integral part of the brain that is the core of memory, learning, and emotion. The more immersive an experience is, the better the chance is of breaking through to memory retrieval.
This is why 3Scape has revolutionized treatment by providing reminiscence therapy through 3D and VR technology. For the first time, we have combined the ingredients of 3D and VR, geriatric psychology, research-based storytelling, and volumes of research regarding music, colour, sight and brain activity INTO ONE EXPERIENCE – this is our innovation.
The stories we deliver are based on narratives our residents have experienced throughout their lives, making them relatable and thought-provoking. By visually and audibly triggering their senses through immersive experiences, patients are able to access their memories. This often elicits strong emotional responses, which are a launching pad for social interaction and connection.
After viewing our first 3D pilot study video it was confirmed residents felt:
A sense of relaxation
Decreased anxiety and depression
These results impact not only the residents, but also their families. It is distressing to watch a loved one experience memory loss and the emotional pain that comes with it, but our treatments are providing hope that their family member’s quality of life can improve as he/she ages.
Our 3D screenings also improve the operations of care facilities. Since they can accommodate several residents at the same time, stress and time constraints are lifted off of caretakers. Happier residents also require less staff supervision and could possibly lower medication costs, since depressive and anxious symptoms have been proven to subside with this therapy.
Your role as a recreational therapist, care provider, or program coordinator is to provide the highest level of care to your residents. Revitalize their treatments with innovative and immersive 3D and VR technology.