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Games Idle Science

Study Finds Frequent Gaming Changes Your Brain 171

Coolhand2120 writes "Gamers always felt they had more grey matter. The LA Times reports there is now proof: 'Fourteen-year-olds who were frequent video gamers had more gray matter in the rewards center of the brain than peers who didn't play video games as much — suggesting that gaming may be correlated to changes in the brain much as addictions are. European scientists reported the discovery Tuesday in the journal Translational Psychiatry. Psychologist Simone Kuhn of Ghent University in Belgium and colleagues recruited 154 healthy 14-year-olds in Berlin and divided them into two groups. Twenty-four girls and 52 boys were frequent gamers who played at least nine hours of video games each week. Fifty-eight girls and 20 boys were infrequent gamers, who played less than nine hours a week. Structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed differences in the test subjects' brains. Frequent gamers had more gray matter in a portion of the brain known as the left ventral striatum, which affects the interplay of emotions and behavior. Previous research identified striatal function as a 'core candidate promoting addictive behavior.'"
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Study Finds Frequent Gaming Changes Your Brain

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  • Old news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @08:04PM (#38080482)

    Any type of learning changes the way your brain works.

  • Re:Old news... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dingen ( 958134 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @08:05PM (#38080492)
    That's what I was thinking as well... doesn't everything you do (or don't do for that matter) change the way your brain works?
  • Please correct me. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @08:05PM (#38080512)

    They're all pretty young, the sample appears pretty small and the sample would seem unbalanced.

    Isn't the brain already undergoing radical changes at that age? I am not doubting there being an effect, but how does that effect pan out over time? Will a difference remain a decade later?

    How does frequent gaming affect people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, etc.?

  • False Subject (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @08:09PM (#38080550)

    The study did not say that games change the brain, it says that people with this type of brain are more apt to play games. RTFA

  • by Dyinobal ( 1427207 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @08:18PM (#38080658)
    I think perhaps you should seek help. I don't have those sorts of thoughts. Mine is mostly, how long till I can get out of here and play more skyrim.
  • by Local ID10T ( 790134 ) <> on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @08:18PM (#38080662) Homepage

    ...gaming may be correlated to changes in the brain much as addictions are.


    Sound familiar to anyone?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @08:57PM (#38081070)

    You are only a psychopath if you act on thoughts like that, or threaten to...

  • Re:I disagree. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @09:05PM (#38081134)

    Like most kids and pre-teens will do, they will bitch like crazy if you try to move them and make them go outside, but only because nobody put them on a track to do things outside. You can't expect someone to enjoy an activity intended to be enjoyable when nobody ever showed them why they can or should enjoy it.

    I played football in college and you know what I noticed? Pretty much every single football dorm room/apartment had at least 1 video game console. We would get done with practice, go back to the room after spending hours outside, and play Madden, or golf, or marathon CoD zombie sessions. We spent a lot of time and energy outside, and found that video games were a great way to have fun and relax at the same time without expending extra physical energy.

  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Wednesday November 16, 2011 @11:25PM (#38082066)

    > How does frequent gaming affect people in their 20s, 30s, 40s, etc.?

    I can answer that for someone ~ 40. (I've been gaming since the early 80's)

    I used to be a extreme hard-core gamer -- typically putting in 80 hrs every 2 weeks playing L4D, TF2, BF:BC2, Diablo 2. Yes, 80 hours. (When you're single, you can play 2-3 hrs every night, and 8-10 hrs on Sat & Sun =) Before that I played UO and WoW for 4 years each.

    I decided to do a radical experiment this summer -- no gaming for 1 month.

    The results really surprised me.

    I found that with extreme gaming my mind was effectively overclocked by ~ 10x. I was _always_ having thoughts -- my mind was constantly racing, jumping from thought to though. I was _extremely_ bored waiting for people to finish up their sentence. When they were only 10% started talkig I was already processing what they were going to say, my response, and already thinking about 2 other interesting things. My sense of time whenever on the computer was completely accelerated. A few hours would seem like minutes.

    With no gaming I found my mind was effectively under-clocked by ~ 1/2, but that I was more efficient! I could actually go 5 - 10 mins without any thoughts whatsoever. It was almost as good as when I used to meditate. When I was on the computer my sense of time was extremely more accurate and was able to manage my time very efficiently. I found I was actually interested in what people were saying, and wouldn't mind if they took a while to formulate their thoughts. I found myself calm, and able to stay focused, no matter what the subject was. For a while now, I've had one wish in life: "To never be bored" -- this certainly came dam close! One could get lost in every moment and really savor life.

    With the sharp contrast I can definitely attest that extreme gaming & Internet can be a very bad mental addiction. It is ironic that physical drugs (caffeine, alcohol, etc,) are harder to get on, but harder to get off. Mental addictions are extremely easy to get started on, but thankfully easier to get weaned off of.

    Going forward -- I'm in a bit of a dilemma. I really _love_ gaming and spending time with all my online gaming friends. I also see the "harmful" effects, so there is only one solution: These days I'm trying to be more balanced. Only a few hours a week of FPSers -- and spend more time with real-life friends, and doing other activities, such as getting out more, going to the gym, etc.

    I would highly recommend everyone do a personal experiment. This is the _only_ way to truly _know_ how gaming effects you. If you find you are not effected, then great! If you found you are, then that is good as well because now that you armed with information you have choice on what to do differently. Either way you learnt something.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 17, 2011 @08:28AM (#38084194)

    But when you start to become the subject of your research, your research stops being objective. Right?

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982