World of Warcraft : Giving Seniors a Brain Boost
In a new study conducted by North Carolina State University, researchers have discovered that World of Warcraft can give senior citizens a brain boost by improving spatial awareness, memory and help them to better focus their attention.
The study was conducted with people in the 60-77 age range. Half of the participants did not play WoW, the other half played about an hour a day over a two week period. After two weeks, participants were retested. Those playing WoW over the two week period showed 'marked improvement' in cognitive function.
"Among participants who scored well on baseline cognitive functioning tests, there was no significant improvement after playing WoW – they were already doing great," McLaughlin says. "But we saw significant improvement in both spatial ability and focus for participants who scored low on the initial baseline tests." Pre- and post-game testing showed no change for participants on memory.
"The people who needed it most – those who performed the worst on the initial testing – saw the most improvement," says Dr. Jason Allaire, an associate professor of psychology at NC State and co-author of a paper on the study.