World of Warcraft may be good for old people

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You quite frequently see pictures of the aged playing video games – but they tend to be of septuagenarians have a blast of a time playing Wii Sports bowling. Games like that may keep the elderly active – but they do nothing for their minds.

Following a new study, it seems MMO’s like World of Warcraft might keep the aged from going batty.

According to Gamasutra, the study focused on two groups of volunteers, suitably aged between 60 and 77. One group was made to play 14 hours of Blizzard’s  unnaturally popular World of Warcraft over two weeks ( An hour a day? Impossible!), while the other served as a control group, playing not a darned thing. At the end of the study, they found that those who’d initially tested with low cognitive ability showed marked improvements – although those already of sound mind showed no improvement whatsoever.

“Among participants who scored well on baseline cognitive functioning tests, there was no significant improvement after playing WoW – they were already doing great,” assistant professor Anne Collins McLaughlin at North Carolina University  said. “But we saw significant improvement in both spatial ability and focus for participants who scored low on the initial baseline tests.”

Why’d they choose World of Warcraft for the study?

“… it has attributes we felt may produce benefits – it is a cognitively challenging game in a socially interactive environment that presents users with novel situations,” said McLaughlin

So if your gran is the sort who walk around, confusedly nattering things like "Bugrit!" and "Millennium Hand and Shrimp," you might want to introduce ‘em to Azeroth.

Last Updated: February 23, 2012

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I’m old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time – they were capable of being masterpieces. I’m here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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