A study done at the North Carolina State University has demonstrated that the Blizzard-made MMO World of Warcraft has the potential to improve the attention levels and the spatial awareness for older players.
The study involved two groups of volunteers with ages between 60 and 77, one which was given World of Warcraft to play for around 14 hours over the space of two weeks, while the other served as a control and never spent any time with the MMO.
The attention levels and the spatial awareness of all those involved were checked again and those who initially struggled had a marked improvement when they were part of the World of Warcraft
Anne Collins McLaughlin, who is an assistant professor working on the study, stated, “Among participants who scored well on baseline cognitive functioning tests, there was no significant improvement after playing WoW – they were already doing great.
“But we saw significant improvement in both spatial ability and focus for participants who scored low on the initial baseline tests.”
The research team at the North Carolina State University has apparently chosen the Blizzard-made MMO because it was “cognitively challenging” and offered “socially interactive environment that presents users with novel situations.”
It is not clear how familiar the elderly subjects were with World of Warcraft or whether they had any previous experience with video games, both factors that could be linked to their improvement in attention levels and in spatial awareness.
Another study released during the week revealed that playing Medal of Honor
, the first-person shooter from EALA and Electronic Arts, was able to improve the eyesight of some subjects, especially those who initially fared worse than the median.
Video games have also been used to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorders for some patients and have been involved with rehabilitation after serious accidents.