Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

World of Warcraft boosts cognitive functioning in older adults

Date:
February 22, 2012
Source:
North Carolina State University
Summary:
For some older adults, the online video game World of Warcraft (WoW) may provide more than an opportunity for escapist adventure. Researchers have found that playing WoW boosted cognitive functioning for older adults – particularly those who had scored poorly on cognitive ability tests before playing the game.

For some older adults, the online video game World of Warcraft (WoW) may provide more than just an opportunity for escapist adventure. Researchers from North Carolina State University have found that playing WoW actually boosted cognitive functioning for older adults - particularly those adults who had scored poorly on cognitive ability tests before playing the game.

"We chose World of Warcraft because 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," says Dr. Anne McLaughlin, an assistant professor of psychology at NC State and co-author of a paper on the study. "We found there were improvements, but it depended on each participant's baseline cognitive functioning level."

Researchers from NC State's Gains Through Gaming laboratory first tested the cognitive functioning of study participants, aged 60 to 77, to set a baseline. The researchers looked at cognitive abilities including spatial ability, memory and how well participants could focus their attention.

An "experimental" group of study participants then played WoW on their home computers for approximately 14 hours over the course of two weeks, before being re-tested. A "control" group of study participants did not play WoW, but were also re-tested after two weeks.

Comparing the cognitive functioning test scores of participants in the experimental and control groups, the researchers found the group that played WoW saw a much greater increase in cognitive functioning, though the effect varied according to each participant's baseline score.

"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.

The paper, "Individual differences in response to cognitive training: Using a multi-modal, attentionally demanding game-based intervention for older adults," is published online in Computers in Human Behavior. Lead author of the paper is Laura Whitlock, an NC State Ph.D. student. The research was supported by NC State's College of Humanities and Social Sciences.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by North Carolina State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Laura A. Whitlock, Anne Collins McLaughlin, Jason C. Allaire. Individual differences in response to cognitive training: Using a multi-modal, attentionally demanding game-based intervention for older adults. Computers in Human Behavior, 2012; DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2012.01.012

Cite This Page:

North Carolina State University. "World of Warcraft boosts cognitive functioning in older adults." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120222132255.htm>.
North Carolina State University. (2012, February 22). World of Warcraft boosts cognitive functioning in older adults. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120222132255.htm
North Carolina State University. "World of Warcraft boosts cognitive functioning in older adults." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120222132255.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) A new study suggests that mixing alcohol with energy drinks makes you want to keep the party going. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

AP (July 18, 2014) Following the nationwide trend of eased restrictions on marijuana use, pot edibles are growing in popularity. One Boston-area cooking class is teaching people how to eat pot responsibly. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins