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Video Games Alter Brain Function

Friday, 02 Dec 2011 12:21 PM


Playing violent video games for only one week can change the brain in regions associated with cognitive function and emotional control.
The topic of whether or not violent video games are potentially harmful for users has been debated for years, but there was little scientific evidence that the games had a long-term effect on the brain. But a new study, which was conducted at Indiana University School of Medicine, found the first hard evidence of the effects of video games using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
"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," said Yang Wang, M.D., assistant research professor in the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. "These brain regions are important for controlling emotion and aggressive behavior."
Each volunteer in a group of 22 young men underwent fMRI at the beginning of the study, another fMRI at the end of the first week, and a third exam at the end of the second week. All had low past exposure to video games. They were randomly assigned to two groups, and one group was asked to play a shooting video game for 10 hours for one week, but to avoid playing the second week. The second group didn't play a violent video game at all.
After only one week, those volunteers who played video games showed less activation in the area of the brain that control emotion and aggression.
"These findings indicate that violent video game play has a long-term effect on brain functioning," Dr. Wang said.





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Playing violent video games for only one week causes long-term changes in the brain associated with cognitive function and emotional control.
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2011-21-02
Friday, 02 Dec 2011 12:21 PM
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