World of Warcraft May Protect the Aging Brain

Extracted 02MAR2012 from

New research shows that the MMO can actually boost cognitive functioning in older adults.

Jason Allaire... along with colleagues Laura Whitlock and Anne McLaughlin, set about doing exactly that. The team started by recruiting 39 volunteers between the ages of 60 and 77 and testing their performance across a variety of cognitive skills, like focus and spatial reasoning...

The researchers found that, as a whole, the WoW group saw a greater increase in cognitive performance than the control group, though improvements tended to vary on a person-to-person basis... explains Allaire, "the people who needed it most saw the greatest improvements."

Allaire and McLaughlin are co-directors of North Carolina State's Gains Through Gaming Laboratory. In 2009, the two received a million-dollar grant from the National Science Foundation to study how video games might improve cognitive abilities in the elderly...

The researchers' findings are published in the latest issue of Computers in Human Behavior.