Allstate Insurance Using Video Games to Refresh Elderly Drivers' Skills... Seriously

October 13 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future
Category: Social Issues   Year: 2008   Rating: 8 Hot

Allstate, the second-largest insurance provider in the US, recently sent out video games to 100,000 of their clients aged 50 to 75. “The set of five games, together called InSight and made by Posit Science, are designed to improve the mental acuity of older drivers.” Allstate expects to see fewer accidents among the group receiving the video games than from those who did not.

Allstate professes that “ten hours of game play turns the clock back 10 years in terms of memory, useful field of view, processing visual information, and general cognitive functions.”

The idea of training the brain to perform better is something that has been studied for centuries. Think of it as putting your brain through its own workout routine – it needs to do lifts, squats, push-ups and of course cardio. This is most commonly in the form of games.

So will we be seeing more and more brain training in the future?

If Allstate proves that gameplay sharpens the mind, expect to see video game courses in the near future. In order to get a drivers license or qualify for insurance, you may have to pass an online video game to show you’re competent. Depending on your mental capacity, it could take you anywhere from five minutes to weeks to finish the game.

If I were you, I’d start preparing today by playing a few games online (tell your boss you have to play the games in order to increase the quality of your work, it won’t work but it’s worth a shot).

By doing a simple search, you can find a plethora of brain training games online (like the one above). There’s Games for the Brain and the Brain Metrix for starters. Heck, even Nintendo has a game for their DS called Brain Age which tells you the estimated age of your brain after running you through various mind games.

Image: lynguistic (Flickr, CC-Attribution)

Comment Thread (3 Responses)

  1. I’ve been following gaming and education for a while, but still am very surprised to see a company like Allstate utilizing this tech so early on. Definitely reinforces the trend.

    Posted by: Alvis Brigis   October 13, 2008
    Vote for this comment - Recommend

  2. Using a controller is completely different from driving a steering wheel. Hopefully the simulation is accurate to the real driving experience.

    Posted by: christinep   October 14, 2008
    Vote for this comment - Recommend

  3. I don’t think the games have anything to do with driving, they’re more just to hone skills like reaction. For instance, playing Duck Hunt at first you may miss a lot of ducks, but then it gets you thinking about trajectories and paths. Soon, you’re shooting every duck no problem. It has improved your reflexes in the game, but it may also help your reflexes in other daily activities.

    Posted by: John Heylin   October 14, 2008
    Vote for this comment - Recommend