World of Warcraft may be your favorite interactive hobby, but it may also be a good way to improve the cognitive functioning of your favorite senior citizen. Researchers from North Carolina State’s “Gains Through Gaming” lab have found that playing WoW boosted the cognitive functioning of older adults. Cognitive abilities like memory, spatial ability and attention focusing were studied in 39 participants, all between the ages of 60 to 77.
Participant’s cognitive abilities were tested at the beginning of the study. Afterward, one group played the game at home for about 14 hours over two weeks and the other did not. After two weeks, each group was retested; those that scored low on the initial test did better on the second one, following their two weeks of game play. No change was found in memory, but significant improvement in spatial ability and attention did occur. So, next time someone nags at you for playing too much WoW, just tell them you’re improving your cognitive functioning in preparation for old age.
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