Violent Videogames May Alter Players’ Brains Over Time, Research Shows

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In the continuing debate over the dangers of violent videogames, new research shows the brain function of gamers is actually altered in as little as one week of play. Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine found a direct relationship between playing videogames and subsequent changes to portions of the brain associated with cognitive function and emotional control, according to Science Daily.

The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America. Researchers randomly assigned 28 young men aged 18 to 29 into two groups of 14. The young men had little previous exposure to violent video games. One group was given a shooting game and told to play 10 hours over one week and not play at all in the second week. The second group refrained from playing any video games the entire two weeks. Both groups of young men were given functional magnetic resonance imaging brain scans before and after the two-week period.

Following the two-week period, the young men who played video games showed less activation in regions of the brain assigned to emotional and cognitive function.

"These findings indicate that violent video game play has a long-term effect on brain functioning," said Dr. Yang Wang, an assistant research professor at Indiana University. "These effects may translate into behavioral changes over longer periods of game play."

Prior to this study there has been little scientific evidence that videogames have long-term effects on the brain function of players.

Photo by Flickr | goodrob13

2 thoughts on “Violent Videogames May Alter Players’ Brains Over Time, Research Shows

  1. The study shows that certian areas of the brain are in deed activated. This does not show causation or means that individuals will act in a certain way as a result. Many people I know including myself have played all types of video games from E to M rated. This has not caused us to become antisocial criminals wreaking havoc domestically or publicly. These studies offer no real insight. The human brain is a wonderful organ that allows us to experience the world in them most profound ways. Experience and conditioning plays a vital part in how we perceive the world in which we live and thusly behave. Choice is a powerful concept we humans have as well.

  2. Very interesting. Hope there will be follow up studies and further investigations.

    Anecdotally my almost teenage son has played violent video games along with a range of highly skilled physical activities. He devours fiction and non-fiction and finds school too easy. I suspect it hasnt affected his cognitive functioning yet.

    I appreciate the MRI found less activiation in cognitive and emotional areas but how does this actually translate. Would be helpful to have info on alterations in brain waves and what happens if/when they stop playing.