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Host: Kia Nobre

Prof Adam Gazzaley

University of California, San Francisco

Video Games and the Future of Cognitive Enhancement

Abstract: A fundamental challenge of modern society is the development of effective approaches to enhance brain function and cognition in both healthy and impaired individuals. For the healthy, this serves as a core mission of our educational system and for the cognitively impaired this is an critical goal of our medical system. Unfortunately, there are serious and growing concerns about the ability of either system to meet this challenge. I will describe an approach developed in our lab that uses custom-designed video games to achieve meaningful and sustainable cognitive enhancement (e.g., Anguera, et al. Nature 2013), as well the next stage of our research program, which uses video games integrated with technological innovations in software (e.g., brain computer interface algorithms, GPU computing) and hardware (e.g., virtual reality headsets, mobile EEG, transcranial electrical brain stimulation) to create a novel personalized closed loop system. I will share with you a vision of the future in which video games are used as an underlying engine to enhance our brain’s information processing systems, thus reducing our reliance on non-specific drugs to treat neurological and psychiatric conditions and allowing us to better target our educational efforts.