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This article claims a study shows that the cognitive abilities of 60-77 year olds can be helped by playing two weeks of World of Warcraft.

This article quotes a navy researcher as saying adults generally can get similar benefits:

"We have discovered that video game players perform 10 to 20 percent higher in terms of perceptual and cognitive ability than normal people that are non-game players," s

...

"We know that video games can increase perceptual abilities and short-term memory," he said. They allow the player to focus longer and expand the player's field of vision compared to people who don't play video games, he added.

And this article claims similar results for children.

Psychologists have discovered that the specially designed games act like a workout for the mind and after just eight weeks can lead to dramatic increases in IQ and test results.

Scientists studied 600 children who played an online game called Junglememory Children in the study have seen dramatic improvements in their ability to solve mathematical and verbal problems and have seen IQ scores jump by 10 after the course.

Will video games improve children's IQ (or other measurements of intelligence)?

  • [Removed obsolete comments.] – Oddthinking Feb 28 '12 at 7:19
  • @Jim Thio: what do you think is wrong in those two articles that makes you skeptical of their results? – nico Feb 28 '12 at 7:42
  • My wife think it's wrong. I think it's right. I don't doubt that at all. My wife believe the opposite. So I need the power of awesome sceptics to magically convince my wife that video games are awesome. Some recommendation would be great too :) – user4951 Feb 28 '12 at 8:27
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    Can I draw your attention to "specially designed games act like a workout for the mind". The paper is not claiming that Angry Birds improves your IQ. It's claiming that it is possible to write educational software in the form of a game. Hardly controversial. – DJClayworth Feb 28 '12 at 16:09
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    I have removed the entire update portion. It did not add to the question of does it impact children's IQ's. It just confused the question. And convincing the OP's wife is to localized for this Q&A site. – Chad Feb 29 '12 at 14:55
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Specifically designed games increase working memory performance and may boost intelligence scores:

http://www.pnas.org/content/105/19/6829.full

http://www.cogmed.com/gains-fluid-intelligence-training-nonverbal-reasoning-4yearold-children-controlled-randomized-study#.T5u4zFK92Xs

If the popular games feature elements similar to the games referenced in the links, then yes. Most likely, they do not.

Cogmed develops games for training working memory, which affects intelligence. However, significant effects do not occur for verbal training. This is only one of several studies using the games that they developed.

Jaeggi and colleagues found that in order for the training of working memory to affect intelligence, the amount of training matters.

The take home message is that the game design together with amount of gaming determines the outcome in "boosting" intelligence.

  • Hi and thanks for the answer, can you please provide a little more context, maybe a quote from the articles? thanks. – Sklivvz Apr 28 '12 at 13:49
  • @Skliwz I have updated the an above, in attempt to offer context. Let me know if its lacking. The studies I mention have been carried out in children at age 4 and men and women in their twenties. The task described in the paper by Jaeggi and colleagues is actually a computer game. (PS The first paper is open access.) – noumenal Apr 28 '12 at 15:55
  • Anybody interested in a rundown of why these studies are a) subject to conflicts of interest b) poorly designed? – Ruben May 30 '12 at 19:50
  • @Ruben Sure thing. What is your view? – noumenal May 31 '12 at 13:04
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    a) the authors sell the training programs that they use in their studies. Jaeggi et al. don't acknowledge this, Klingberg does. b) Here's a review which shows in how many ways these studies fall short of a good RCT design (not randomised, weak control groups, etc.) c) Also I suspect publication bias in these findings considering the small samples and large effects they obtain, no published null findings and my personal knowledge of two unpublished nonreplications. – Ruben Jun 5 '12 at 19:05

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