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World of Warcraft Improves Cognitive Ability for Older Adults

By - Source: NCSU | B 32 comments

There are plenty of ways how to keep your brain active when we get older. Playing video games is one of them.

Researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU) found that at least for some older adults, World of Warcraft (WoW) has benefits beyond the simple entertainment of the game, but will help them to improve their cognitive functioning as well. According to the study, one hour of WoW per day over the course of two weeks resulted in notable cognitive improvement.

However, the test also showed that the improvement strongly depends on the baseline of cognitive functioning. Those players with the most room for improvement saw their scores jump much greater than those who had a well-trained cognitive ability already.

“Among participants who scored well on baseline cognitive functioning tests, there was no significant improvement after playing WoW – they were already doing great,” said Anne McLaughlin, an assistant professor of psychology at NC State and co-author of a paper on the study. “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 performance.

The researchers said that they chose WoW for their study because they believed the game had the potential of "producing benefits" as it is seen as a "cognitively challenging game in a socially interactive environment that presents users with novel situations."

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Top Comments
  • 17 Hide
    Ragnar-Kon , February 26, 2012 4:15 PM
    More or less common sense. It is well known that if you keep your mind busy solving problems and learning new things, your cognitive ability will improve. WoW is nothing more than a giant problem in this case.
    nforce4maxNow some of you know why I still play the game. 7 accounts worth lol.

    $105/month?! I can understand one account easily, I can also understand 2 accounts. If I stretch it a bit, I can even comprehend three accounts. But 7 accounts?

    I think its about time you find something else to do with your time and money.
  • 13 Hide
    SmileyTPB1 , February 26, 2012 6:13 PM
    Blizzard probably sponsored the study.
  • 13 Hide
    synd , February 26, 2012 4:09 PM
    castle songbirdI'd like to see these tests compared against Portal 2 co op

    The only problem is that Portal 2 co-op is only 5hrs of gameplay while WoW can be played even 300hrs and you can still have things to do
Other Comments
    Display all 32 comments.
  • -7 Hide
    nforce4max , February 26, 2012 3:27 PM
    Now some of you know why I still play the game. 7 accounts worth lol.
  • -2 Hide
    castle songbird , February 26, 2012 3:50 PM
    I'd like to see these tests compared against Portal 2 co op
  • -7 Hide
    Supermuncher85 , February 26, 2012 4:00 PM
    I say bull. Nothing but hawthorne effect here.
  • 13 Hide
    synd , February 26, 2012 4:09 PM
    castle songbirdI'd like to see these tests compared against Portal 2 co op

    The only problem is that Portal 2 co-op is only 5hrs of gameplay while WoW can be played even 300hrs and you can still have things to do
  • -7 Hide
    freggo , February 26, 2012 4:11 PM
    Kinda like tuning a Chevy vs. trying to get some more speed out of a Ferrari Enzo.
    If course it's easier to improve on those with lousy basic performance.
    Now go and research something that common sense does not answer :-)
  • 17 Hide
    Ragnar-Kon , February 26, 2012 4:15 PM
    More or less common sense. It is well known that if you keep your mind busy solving problems and learning new things, your cognitive ability will improve. WoW is nothing more than a giant problem in this case.
    nforce4maxNow some of you know why I still play the game. 7 accounts worth lol.

    $105/month?! I can understand one account easily, I can also understand 2 accounts. If I stretch it a bit, I can even comprehend three accounts. But 7 accounts?

    I think its about time you find something else to do with your time and money.
  • -6 Hide
    castle songbird , February 26, 2012 4:16 PM
    syndThe only problem is that Portal 2 co-op is only 5hrs of gameplay while WoW can be played even 300hrs and you can still have things to do




    ...mods
  • 12 Hide
    del35 , February 26, 2012 4:45 PM
    Sounds great. You can also achieve cognitive improvement by reading regularly, or listening to really good music, and let us not forget engaging in frequent good conversation with friends. All these improve cognitive abilities.
  • -5 Hide
    thehidecheck , February 26, 2012 4:46 PM
    lol @ the thumbs up/down. Wonder who did that(only 1 comment with thumbs up XD)?
  • -4 Hide
    billybobser , February 26, 2012 4:57 PM
    syndThe only problem is that Portal 2 co-op is only 5hrs of gameplay while WoW can be played even 300hrs and you can still have things to do


    The gameplay wildly varies on portal 2, but on wow, you'll be doing the same thing over and over and over while a graphically different enemy with essentially the same abilities will extend your 'gameplay'

    The only varied gameplay you will find is in PvP, but that is a complete mess and is very repetitive at lower ranks.
  • -5 Hide
    eklerus , February 26, 2012 5:31 PM
    i don't think anybody gonna read this but
    i like turtles
    like alot
  • 12 Hide
    esrever , February 26, 2012 6:07 PM
    they should play something like starcraft.
  • 13 Hide
    SmileyTPB1 , February 26, 2012 6:13 PM
    Blizzard probably sponsored the study.
  • 1 Hide
    borden5 , February 26, 2012 6:14 PM
    why WoW but not mmo in general ?
  • 7 Hide
    mjinspace , February 26, 2012 6:52 PM
    Walking? Gardening? Low impact aerobics? No!

    World of Warcraft? Yes!
  • 4 Hide
    sockso , February 26, 2012 9:08 PM
    esreverthey should play something like starcraft.

    I was going to say the exact same thing.
  • 4 Hide
    guavasauce , February 26, 2012 10:25 PM
    one hours helps your brain over 2 weeks. thats great, too bad it destroys your ability to be socially significant over time.
  • 2 Hide
    Khimera2000 , February 26, 2012 10:53 PM
    :) ) i can only imagine what it would feel like knowing the entire clan you lost to involved grandpa and all his old pals from the war.
  • 5 Hide
    killerchickens , February 26, 2012 11:19 PM
    Studies show playing wow can lead to obesity and carpal tunnel.
  • 4 Hide
    computernerdforlife , February 26, 2012 11:55 PM
    WoW also create lazy, big fat idiots that spend countless living hours infront of a computer screen.
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