- Age-related vision changes, especially a shrinking “useful field of view,” can make older drivers especially dangerous behind the wheel.
- Playing the right computer game can actually build new neurons, thicken myelin sheaths, and speed up performance in the brain’s visual cortex—leading to better vision and quicker reaction time.
- While intense action games like Grand Theft Auto can improve skills such as object-based attention, they are probably a bit too fast-paced and gory for most older drivers.
In the film noir classic Double Indemnity, insurance agents are presented as cold-blooded in their pursuit of the facts. But it wasn’t until I saw a recent advertisement for Allstate, the insurance company, that I realized how seriously insurance agents take neuroscience. Allstate was advising parents to vote for graduated driver-licensing laws because teenagers’ “dorsal lateral prefrontal cortexes” are immature.
There’s a reason, as this ad implies, that there are age brackets for auto insurance premiums. We drive the way we do because of our brains, which start off immature, pass through an all-too-brief peak and, often, descend slowly into decrepitude.