Southampton University’s Psychology Department has recently concluded a study on the benefits of Bingo. They’ve found that Bingo helps improve hand-eye coordination, cognitive ability and social skills. It was also shown to have particularly good effects on the older players of the game. Those who regularly played the game maintained sharper minds and social skills by enjoying many an afternoon around a Bingo table.
The study found that Bingo players outperformed non-Bingo players in tests of memory, mental speed and information processing. The key, they found, was the time constraint built into the rules of Bingo. Players are required to process the number called and accurately mark off the correct square on their own sheets. The subjects who played developed and maintained their mental agility through repetition of this task. This was also the key to improved hand-eye coordination as the players had to mark their sheets correctly. The desire to win and beat any possibly competitors to calling, “BINGO,” gave the players the motivation to perform this task as quickly and so improved the speed of players across all tests.
Southampton’s test group consisted of 112 individuals. 56 of the test subjects were between the ages of 18 and 40. The other 56 were between the ages of 60 and 82. Half of each age bracket was asked to play Bingo on a regular basis. Tests were given to all participants before the start of the study. They were tested again at the end. As stated, the Bingo players outperformed the non-players across all tests. But what was especially interesting was that the older players often outperformed the younger players. The younger players were faster, but the older players were far more accurate. That data further supports the theory that games and Bingo in particular, are beneficial to aging populations.
Bingo fans have used the results found by the researchers at Southampton to help promote the playing of Bingo in retirement homes, community centers and other social areas frequented by seniors. The research has also been a boon to the online Bingo community. Online Bingo sites are growing in popularity, but they can now claim to help seniors across many different areas while also improving their computer skills.
Part of the benefit of Bingo comes from the fact that Bingo has a strong social aspect to it. Live Bingo is often played in community centers and common rooms with large groups of people, and online Bingo sites, understanding how important the social aspect of the game was, have incorporated chat rooms into their software. The social aspect of Bingo helps build and maintain important social skills, and the community centers and chat rooms have also become a marketplace for ideas and a killing ground for negative stereotypes.
All in all, the study is sure to be a boon to Bingo fans everywhere. Bingo, a time honored American pastime, was beginning to slip into obscurity as a game only fit for the baby-boomer population. Well, while it has shown that it is beneficial to seniors, it’s also shown that younger generations have something to prove. The test results seem to prove that the kids of this age “just aren’t what they used to be.” Well, are you going to let your grandma whip you in a game?
Gamble Aware (www.gambleaware.co.uk) is managed by the Responsibility in Gambling Trust, an independent charity which funds treatment, research and education about responsible gambling. The website has been developed by a Task Force made up of representatives from the Gambling Commission, DCMS, academia and industry.