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Games Science

Your StarCraft II Potential Peaked At Age 24 103

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-you're-getting-better-at-producing-lots-of-vespene-gas dept.
An anonymous reader writes "StarCraft II is popular among competitive gamers for having the depth necessary to reward differences in skill. A new study has found that your ability keep up with the game's frantic pace starts to decline at age 24. This is relevant to more than just StarCraft II players: 'While many high-performance athletes start to show age-related declines at a young age, those are often attributed to physical as opposed to brain aging. ... While previous lab tests have shown faster reaction times for simple individual tasks, it was never clear how much relevance those had to complex, real-world tasks such as driving. Thompson noted that Starcraft is complex and quite similar to real-life tasks such as managing 911 calls at an emergency dispatch centre, so the findings may be directly relevant. However, game performance was much easier to analyze than many real-life situations because the game generates detailed logs of every move. In a way, Thompson said, the study is a good demonstration of what kinds of insights can be gleaned from the "cool data sets" generated by our digital lives.'"
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Your StarCraft II Potential Peaked At Age 24

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  • here's the data (Score:5, Informative)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Wednesday April 16, 2014 @01:03AM (#46764239) Journal
    They calculated the mean time between switching to a new screen and then clicking on something on that screen.

    Here is the data they collected [plosone.org]. Look at it and see if you can figure out where it peaks. What are the things that strike you most about that data? The primary correlation is between skill-level and mean time, if age matters at all it is a far weaker variable.

    Looking at the actual data, I would say they've found the age when people stop playing Starcraft; it's a fairly sharp drop-off. And the change in mean-switching-time is not a real effect, merely an artifact of the suddenly smaller data they have around that age. This paper is probably relevant (suggesting scientists often need to improve their statistics) [nature.com].

    Furthermore, if you read the actual paper, you have this quote: "A second analysis of dual-task performance finds no evidence of a corresponding age-related decline." So I'm going to say there's not a story here.

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