Remember that book, Everything Bad Is Good For You? There may be something to that, at least if we are to believe a flood of recent stories. In the last several days, we’ve heard how eating dessert for breakfast makes you lose weight, how posting party pictures for public display on Facebook can help you land a job, and today brings news that playing World of Warcraft can make you smarter. But only if you’re older and not very smart to begin with.
Researchers asked 39 adults ages 60 to 77 to play World of Warcraft for roughly two hours a day over a two-week period. They gave the test group a cognitive exam before the two-week period began, and again after the two weeks were up. They also had a control group of adults who did not play the game.
The researchers found that two weeks of playing World of Warcraft didn't have much effect on the cognitive abilities of the people who had scored well on the baseline test, but there was significant improvement in both spatial ability and focus for the participants who scored low on the initial test.
The researchers tried to get funding from Blizzard, the company that makes the online roll playing game but was unsuccessful.