I wish these studies were done back when I was growing up. Oh, if only my mum could have read these after taking away my controllers when I refused to do my homework. "No mum, studies show games are actually beneficial. See, it says so right here!" *sigh* So, a bunch of researchers gathered in Boston to detail a series of studies conducted to see whether or not video games had an adverse affect on learning. Well, as it terms out, certain games have real benefits and can be learning tools, including World of Warcraft
A study conducted at Fordham University saw 122 students, fifth through seventh grade, asked to think outloud for 20 minutes while playing a video game they've never seen before. Surprisingly, the older children were more interested in playing the game, while the younger ones were more interested in planning and learning the game first.
"The younger kids are focusing more on their planning and problem solving while they are actually playing the game, while adolescents are focusing less on their planning and strategizing and more on the here and now", said Fordham psychologist Fran Blumberg, who conducted the research last year and plans to submit it for publication. "They're thinking less strategically than the younger kids".
The Univeristy of Wisconsin-Madison took a random sample of 2,000 chat room posts about World of Warcraft to see what players were talking about. The researchers found the discussions encouraged "scientific thinking".
The forums show that gamers are "creating an environment in which informal scientific reasoning practices are being learned", said Sean Duncan, a doctoral student who worked on the "World of Warcraft" report with lead author Constance Steinkuehler.
Oh boy, that must have been a great sample!
I'd still like to see a study done on younger audiences with a game such as Killer 7 or Rez. Check out the link below for a few more studies.
Studies: Video games may benefit students, surgeons (Thanks, Lump_Beefbroth!)