How do you convince your parents to play World of Warcraft?
Yes, the headline of this post may sound like a joke, but it’s not. A study showed that playing World of Warcraft has mental benefits for seniors:
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.
I believe it, because it makes sense that stimulating the brain in a way that’s novel to the study participants would have beneficial effects.
The problem is, how to I get my grumpy, senior-citizen, computer-hating parents to play World of Warcraft?