Researchers at the University of Illinois report that senior citizens who played the PC real-time strategy game Rise of Nations performed better in tests of cognitive function than a control group that did not play.
As reported by Physorg.com, researcher Chandramallika Basak, the study's lead author, explained why RoN was selected:
[In Rise of Nations] you need merchants. You need an army to protect yourself and you have to make sure you're spending some of your resources on education and food. This game stresses resource management and planning, which I think for older adults is important because many of them independently plan and manage their resources.
Test subjects who played the game showed significant improvement at switching between tasks, as well as gains in memory and reasoning. And, the more they played, the better they did.