A new study at the University School of Medicine in Indianapolis claims that when young men who don’t normally play a lot of video games are exposed to violent video games, changes occur in the way their brains function. Scientists were able to document altered brain responses after video game play and what’s more interesting is that some of those changes were still present a week later.
Now obviously, these claims may be false. I bet most of you have been gaming for quite some time, right? Well, did you turn into serial killers? It’s like suggesting that the well-known series Dexter will make you a serial killer. Come ooooooooon. What’s more ironic is that even the scientists themselves don’t know what exactly those changes mean, if anything. But hey, there is brain function so no, don’t play video games. In fact, don’t watch TV as it may alter your eye vision, don’t listen to music as it may alter your ears’ function and don’t have sex – especially if you’re Christians – because you are a sinner.
Dr. Yang Wang, an assistant research professor in the department of radiology and imaging sciences at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis said:
“We found that functioning has been changed in the brain by violent video games. We found that activation [of an area of the brain that controls emotion] is decreased after playing violent video games.
Clinically, we don’t know what these changes mean, but it does affect your brain somehow. The pattern we found is similar to what we’ve seen in past research, and in adolescents is similar to what is seen in disruptive behavior disorders.”
In an attempt to provide some hard evidence, Wang and his colleagues recruited 22 healthy males between the ages of 18 and 29. These young men all reported low levels (less than one hour a week) of previous violent video game play.
The volunteers were randomly placed into one of two groups. One group was told to play a violent video game for about 10 hours at home in the first week, followed by a week of no violent video game play. The other group served as a control group and didn’t play video games for the two-week study period.
All of the volunteers underwent three fMRIs: one at the start of the study, another a week later, and the final one two weeks later. During the fMRIs, the volunteers were given an emotional interference test and a cognitive inhibition counting task.
The men who played violent video games showed less activation in the left inferior frontal lobe during the emotional task, and less activation in the anterior cingulated cortex during the counting task, compared to their own baseline test and to the control group after one week.
Wang said those areas of the brain are important for controlling emotions and aggressive behavior.
After the second week, when there was no video game play, the changes in the brain activation were reduced. Wang said the study wasn’t designed to assess whether or not if someone continually plays violent video games, the changes to the brain become permanent at some point.
So, should gamers stop playing games? As you may have guessed, there is not a definite answer to that. If you are experiencing extreme behavior then yeah, give it a rest for a couple of weeks. However, we – as most of you – have been gaming for lots of years in daily basis and haven’t encountered any problems.
On second thought though, my girlfriend just dumped me so that might be due to my extreme gaming habits. But then again, who cares if she did dump me. Oh wait, I’m not as emotionally affected as I should have been. Damn, my brain has been damaged. The theory was right. We are all doomed. The end is nigh… NOT.
John is the founder and Editor in Chief at DSOGaming. He is a PC gaming fan and highly supports the modding and indie communities. Before creating DSOGaming, John worked on numerous gaming websites. While he is a die-hard PC gamer, his gaming roots can be found on consoles. John loved - and still does - the 16-bit consoles, and considers SNES to be one of the best consoles. Still, the PC platform won him over consoles. That was mainly due to 3DFX and its iconic dedicated 3D accelerator graphics card, Voodoo 2. John has also written a higher degree thesis on the "The Evolution of PC graphics cards."