A new study has given video game lovers the perfect excuse to become even more encapsulated in their leisure activity some casual console time can increase people's cognitive abilities.
The research conducted by North Carolina State University focused on the popular title World of Warcraft and how older people interacted with the game.
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After two weeks of playing Warcraft many of the 39 examinees aged 60 to 77 found considerable improvements to their basic brain functions. They recorded better vocabulary, attention spans and memory than those that didn't play the game.
Researchers chose Warcraft because they believed people's spatial abilities the ability to interact with the visual world would be greatly tested. The game itself requires players to control a character which interacts with others, while fighting monsters and completing quests.
"It is a cognitively challenging game, in a socially interactive environment that presents users with novel situations," said study researcher Anne McLaughlin.
The group noted, however, that the improvements in thinking skills were likely not specific to this particular game.
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Any video game title that involved "multitasking and switching between multiple cognitive abilities such as memory and spatial manipulations, and reasoning," would be effective, they wrote.
It should be noted that not all participants noticed an improvement in the above categories. Those that saw the poorest results in the initial tests saw the best results after playing the game. Examinees that tested well to begin with saw minor, if any, differences.
The results from this study might not completely succeed in muzzling your nagging girlfriend that wants you off the couch, but if you tell her you're investing in your future by ensuring you have a high mental capacity at an older age, she'll be more likely to offer you a little leeway.
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