A recent study carried out by Southampton University’s Psychology Department has shown that despite being dismissed by critics as a brainless pass-time fit only for the dim and/or the old, bingo can keep the mind sharp and improve hand to eye dexterity and social skills. Researchers also said that games such as Bingo can be particularly important to people as they get older, as it can keep their minds alert and maintain or improve the social skills they have acquired earlier in their lives.
The tests showed that regular Bingo players were more accurate and faster in tests that measured memory, mental speed, and the ability to absorb information from the environment around them, than those who did not play the game. Now there is little doubt that you have to have pretty good mental faculties to be able to sustain a game of Poker, chess or even Backgammon, but what is it about Bingo that hits the spot? The research showed that it was the time constraint in Bingo that was key. In other words the very few seconds between hearing or seeing a number called, and marking it off correctly. This concept of time and accuracy, when combined with the need for hand-eye coordination to mark off the number on the card correctly sustained a mental agility apparently absent from the other games (with the possible exclusion of speed chess).
The tests comprised of 112 people within the age brackets of 18 to 40 and 60 to 82. Half of each set played bingo. The results concluded that all bingo players were more accurate and quicker than non-players. Interestingly, in certain tests, the older players did better than the younger players! So there’s one in the eye for the “past-it” Brigade! More and more research is supporting the theory that a regular partaking of activities that exercise the mind is very beneficial to the maintenance of optimum mental functioning as we get older.
The research showed that while younger bingo players tended to be faster, the older ones were more accurate. More haste less speed then!!
Whilst few would advocate Bingo to provide a fulsome and satisfactory workout for the mind in terms of endurance and mental skill, but prolonged or regular partaking in the game over a sustained period of time will lead to cognitive benefits.
In the UK, there are around three million bingo players. Perhaps this study and the growing body of research around it will help to promote the game to those who otherwise would have written it off as something trivial, for the decrepit, or just suited to the intellectually challenged.
And then there’s the total social aspect of the game, whether live at a Bingo Hall, or in a chat room online. All social interaction promotes conversation, exchanges of views, ideas, facts etc., all of which provide mental stimulation. Let us all now develop our “Bingo Brains” by having a game! Good luck.