Published On: Tue, Dec 6th, 2011

New Study links violent video games to brain changes, gamers scoff

A new research study by Dr. Yang Wang from Indiana University illustrates the brain changes when playing violent video games. The study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a specialized brain scan that looks at changes in blood flow within the brain. Researchers found that those who played the violent video games showed less activity in areas that involved emotions, attention and inhibition of our impulses.

“Behavioral studies have shown an increase in aggressive behavior after violent video games, and what we show is the physiological explanation for what the behavioral studies are showing,” says Dr. Vincent Matthews (also part of the IU study). “We’re showing that there are changes in brain function that are likely related to that behavior.”

Dr. Wang commented in a press release “For the first time, we have found that a sample of randomly assigned young adults showed less activation in certain frontal brain regions following a week of playing violent video games at home.  The affected brain regions are important for controlling emotion and aggressive behavior.”

So how is the news received by video game participants?

Most gamers don’t play 10 hours of first person shooter action per day, so does 2 hours really have the same effect? –Daily Tech.

Moreover, while I haven’t found the connection between the two, this gamer site immediately implied The Center for Successful Parenting was somehow tied to the IU research team.

The TIME article summarizes that the effects are NOT permanant:

The brain changes don’t appear to be permanent, but documenting that the brain does change in response to playing a violent game — even just for two hours a day for a week — is a significant advance in understanding how young players may be affected by these games. The brain changes that Matthews’ group saw were similar to those seen in teens with destructive sociopathic disorders, and his results, along with those from previous studies showing shorter-term effects, have been used in court cases by parents and others hoping to limit violent game play among young children. “Individuals and parents of children who choose to play games need to be aware that there are changes in brain function and they need to consider that when they decide whether or not to play these games,” says Matthews.

I can personally testify that these observations are 100% true.

While it’s just my subjective observations, I’ve these EXACT emotional and psychological changes in my son and some of his friends. After “taking away” the games, the NORMAL behavior returns and the emotional outbursts go away.



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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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