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Study: Violent Video Games Have 'Long-Term Effect On Brain Functioning'
Study: Violent Video Games Have 'Long-Term Effect On Brain Functioning'
November 30, 2011 | By Mike Rose

November 30, 2011 | By Mike Rose
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    29 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



A new study by the Radiological Society of North America has found that violent video games cause the frontal brain regions of a user's brain to show "less activation" after play.

Professors at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis used functional magnetic resonance imaging to analyze the long-term effects of playing violent games on the average gamer's brain.

Eleven adult males, aged between 18 and 29, who had not previously been exposed to many violent video games, were given shooter games and instructed to play for 10 hours at home during a one week period.

Another 11 participants were then told not to play any violent video games for a week, and the results were compared.

The study found that participants in the study showed changes in their brain function after playing violent video games for one week.

In particular, the study said that the cognitive function and emotional control sections of the brain were most affected. It also said that, after another week in which the subjects did not play violent video games, the change in brain function was then reduced.

Yang Wang, M.D., assistant research professor in the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences at Indiana University, explained, "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."

"These brain regions are important for controlling emotion and aggressive behavior," he continued. "These findings indicate that violent video game play has a long-term effect on brain functioning."



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Comments


Eric Geer
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Can we do this same study with non-violent video games...and can we get more participants? 11 males...really?

Jan Kubiczek
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after studying 11 well chosen close-to-shimpanse participants, that were offered alcohol as a compensation for the study, we found that brain function in certain "areas" was reduced. hahaha.

Eric Geer
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herp derp---this shit isn't even published yet... "Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal."







http://www.hollandhospital.org/Main/StaywellProducts/Violent_Vide
o_Games_May_Alter_Brain_Function_Study_32275.aspx

Dan MacDonald
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How about 10h of television? :P

Jan Kubiczek
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maybe the shooter games were just bad. or maybe the participants were stupid all along and couldnt cope with the content. i am not sure what this study is supposed to tell us. can you add a white paper link?

Roger Klado
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Or...

"Eleven adult males, aged between 18 and 29, who had not previously been exposed to many violent video games"

would in this day n age be 11 males who do not buy violent video games ( one might conclude they then obviously do not like violent video games )

In which case...

guessing the brain activity after TEN HOURS of gameplay by individuals who probably consider such gameplay as vulgar or immature would seem predictably negative.



Pick 11 males who play violent video games competitively ( not to mention engaging quality titles that are prefered by same subjects ) and compare those results.



But then again... those results will be as illuminating as anything else.

Or I just have prejudiced preconceptions of what kind of 20 year old male "doesn't" play violent video games "cough"wii!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"cough"

Jan Kubiczek
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and well... so a little over a week is what they call long-term? thats just plain weird.

Robert McMahan
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Not only is one week not long term whatsoever. The end they say randomly assigned young adults. However, when did females become incapable of being an adult? They only tested MALES as stated earlier in the article. It's a pretty biased study in the sense that it wasn't random at all only in the sense that they chose 11 Males. If they actually chose 11 random young adults, females would have been included in the study.

Jan Kubiczek
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well, the chance is is a little more than (1/2)^11 of having 11 males in a sample of 11. maybe the females were just unlucky. ;-)

Owen Bennett
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I wonder if anyone's done the same study, but replacing "violent video games" with "contact sports"?

Jan Kubiczek
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i figure you'd need very sensitive measurement equipment. hahaha.

Joshua George
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You know, they have found the same thing with violent movies, violent television, violent music, and violent literature. However, its' always the video games that get hit the hardest.



Also, when are they going to test women? Even if more men than women commit violent crimes, they still have the potential for them.



I feel these tests are always skewed to put video games in the worst light possible.

Robert McMahan
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It's because of the immersion factor. People target them more for this reason really. That and Video Games have always been unfavorable to the general old fashioned people in power. Everyone thinks video games aren't real entertainment, art, or even profession. It has low rep due to its quick boom that caught a lot of people off guard.

Jan Kubiczek
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@robert: a german expert that i dont want to name here, called it a conflict in social capital. video games are feared because they may cause a shift in power over media contents. so let's stay as clever as we are and not be taken over by the same idiots who ruined television.

Robert McMahan
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@Jan, okay that's makes a lot more sense. I'll like to look into it further for personal educational purposes. I would really like to learn more about this expert if there's someway you can message me the name of him.

William Barnes
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@ Joshua



Each of those forms of media has had their turn in the "promotes violent behavior" spotlight too. Video games are just the newest kids on the block, and now is the subject of the attacks.

Ian MacFarlane
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This just gives the "I don't want my child playing violent video games" people ammo, when really they should grow up, become a parent to the child, and don't buy them/let them play games they find unacceptable. Which I also think has a lot to do with the pussification of today's youths.

Patric Schmid
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What also would be interesting, 11 Persons had been told to play violent games. "Another 11 participants were then told not to play any violent video games for a week, and the results were compared."

Where they told to play any computergame or how far is the result not the result of playing a violent game, but more of playing a competitive game in general.



What I see in this post above is more or less:

"Eleven adult males, aged between 18 and 29, who had not previously been exposed to many violent video games"

People that are not very good at playing competitive games, "were given shooter games", what was probably very frustrating to them. But they had to continue for at least 10 hours. They played shooter games that are mostly very competitive in multiplayer, so if your the one loosing all the time, you get angry you get annoyed, you get headache and start yelling. If you succeed one time, you feel satisfied that you won this time and in revenge were able to kick someones ass.

I don't need a brain scan to know that such a stressful situation can affect your brain, i feel while playing!

Now you have a control group of another 11 people, that don't have all this stress and frustration and joyful satisfactionary moments in this time.

Was it really the "violent" that made the different or was it all the other experiences the article above tells me nothing more then I knew before.

Eric Geer
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The article I linked above led me to this: LOL! It's funny to me that so many people hate video games so much..but most of these studies and results are by people that have never delved into video games or even given them a chance.



http://www.aacap.org/cs/root/facts_for_families/children_and_vide
o_games_playing_with_violence



"While some games have educational content, many of the most popular games emphasize negative themes and promote:



-the killing of people or animals

-the use and abuse of drugs and alcohol

-criminal behavior, disrespect for authority and the law

-sexual exploitation and violence toward women

-racial, sexual, and gender stereotypes

-foul language, obscenities, and obscene gestures"

Robert McMahan
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They forgot to add "Movies, music, and other forms of media have this content as well. Sports also contains medium to high level of violence"

Jan Kubiczek
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@robert: yeah, it would seem quite logical to connect hooligan crimes to football. comparing the number of football fans to people that got injured in fights over a game of football would probably compare rather nice to the number of people playing video games and any casualties or injuries caused by players.

Robert McMahan
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@Jan: Did you hear about the incident in Brazil where a goalie missed blocking a goal? It ended up being the game winning goal and he ended up being killed by a fan when he was on his way home.

Megan Swaine
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I'm not sure exactly what they think this is proving. Also, they haven't really qualified what they mean by "violent." The violence in Halo, for instance, is quite a bit different from the violence present in the new Mortal Kombat, which is different from the sort of violence you'd find in a GTA game. One is science fiction FPS, one is a straight-up fantasy fighting game (which is fighting for the sake of fighting), and the third is mafia violence book-ended with story. What could be considered a "normal" response to any of these would probably vary.

Robert McMahan
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Violence is violence to these kinds of people, regardless of the varying forms. I mean you could have a cartoon raisin fighting a spoon video game and they would still probably have something to say about that. To me, I think it's really all about selective hearing for them. They just highlight the whole violence factor and not much more in depth than that.

Matthew Doyle
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This is funny. Reading every single reply/comment to this article - they all read like fanboi forum rants. Get over it. Violent video games have an effect on your brain. I've been developing games for nearly a decade, some of which were violent. Yet, I'm willing to accept the findings of studies like this as true. The facts are that evidence does suggest, not just by this study, but by many others, that video games DO impact your brain function - sometimes for the worse. People wouldn't die or become addicted to playing MMOs if it didn't have some kind of impact on their brain function. It's not too hard to believe why, considering your brain the key organ for processing and interpreting sensory data. Stop trying to view games through rose colored glasses. They aren't as harmless as you all seem to think.

dennis crawford
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Of course media has an effect on the brain, its why we play games to begin with. The problem is the way these tests are used. While they pick a part violent video games as a devious medium, they cheer on sports like American football. Where are the studies for the brain impact on watching or playing violent sports? Why don't the politicians speak out against kids playing contact sports up to the high school level?



My concern is that eventually people will use these kind of half proven results as ammo to regulate the games being made or able to play.

Roger Klado
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It's not "that video games have an effect" on the human brain that irks me...

It's the fact that the only thing this test prooves is that 11 males who don't play violent video games will not find violent video games engaing.

Not acknowledging that elephant in the room goes a long way in discrediting the intention of such a study.

Duong Nguyen
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Somehow i think any thing you do will have an "effect" on the brain... That's the wonderful thing about having a brain it adapts to the environment.. Now that we have the means to measure the very level of molecular change it's quite amazing but is it so surprising?

Matt Cratty
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Worst study I've ever heard of.



I cannot imagine how these people are trusted to do scientific research.



List the games played. Specifically. Control your experiment. Have another group that plays a specific adventure game set. A strategy game set. Etc...



Perform science or stop publishing this stuff.


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