Violent video game play may have long-term effect on brain functioning

The Los Angeles Times “Booster Shots” blog reported, “Researchers at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America reported that young men’s brains changed after playing violent video games for just a week.” Researchers arrived at that conclusion after randomizing 22 “healthy men who were 18 to 29 years old and not frequent players of violent games … into two groups,” one of which “was asked to play a shooter video game for 10 hours over the course of a week and to refrain from playing the game for a second week,” and the other of which “was instructed not to play any violent video games at all over the two-week period.” All participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging at study start, at the one-week point, and at study end.

“At the one-week mark, the video game group showed less activation in the left inferior frontal lobe during the emotional task and less activation in the anterior cingulate cortex during the counting task, compared with their own previous results and those of the control groups,” the USA Today “Game Hunters” blog reported.

“On the second week’s scan, those brain changes were diminished in the video game group.”

The study’s lead author concluded, “These findings indicate that violent video game play has a long-term effect on brain functioning.”

WebMD notes that the investigators “now plan to study whether pro-social games that promote constructive activities can lessen the potential effects violent games have on brain activity.”

Here are some of my other blogs on the topic:

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