Research Compares Teenagers Who Frequently Game to Gamblers

November 17, 2011 -

Researchers at the Charité University Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in Berlin, Germany, found that gamers who play "frequently" have greater left striatal gray matter volume compared with those that are considered to be moderate gamers. Researchers say that these findings show the importance of "striatal volume and activity in shaping preference of skills for video gaming."

"The key finding of higher volume in left ventral striatum associated with frequent video game playing is in conceptual accordance with findings of enhanced dopamine release during [this activity] and excessive gambling in Parkinson's patients [given] dopaminergic medication," the investigators write.

Researchers were led by Simone Kühn, PhD, from the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Department of Experimental Psychology, Ghent Institute for Functional and Metabolic Imaging, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; Charité University Medicine; and Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Berlin and Braunschweig, Germany. They analyzed MRI scans of 154 14-year-olds from the IMAGEN project, a European multicenter genetic neuroimaging study in teenagers.

Participants were divided into groups, based on a median of 9 hours weekly spent playing video games into 2 playing categories: frequent (76 total - 24 girls, 52 boys) and moderate (78 total - 58 girls, 20 boys).

Researchers found that the frequent gamer group had a significantly increased volume of left grey striatal matter compared with moderate gamers, which in turn was associated with higher functional MRI activity when not winning in a gambling task. The increased activity was negatively correlated with deliberation time in betting, as evaluated using a Monetary Incentive Delay task used to assess brain activity during reward anticipation and reward feedback.

"Individuals with higher ventral striatum volume might experience video gaming as more rewarding in the first place. This in turn could facilitate skill acquisition and lead to further reward from playing," the authors write. "If the striatal differences observed in the current study are indeed an effect of gaming, video gaming might pose an interesting option to explore structural changes in addiction in future studies."

The IMAGEN study receives research funding from the European Community's Sixth Framework Program and is supported by the UK Department of Health National Institute for Health Research–Biomedical Research Center 'Mental Health' and a MRC program grant. Additional funding was provided by the Berliner Senatsverwaltung. The study was published online November 15 in Translational Psychiatry.

If you enjoy seeing the same information interpreted by English newspapers, then you'll find the reports from The Daily Mail and The Telegraph amusing.

Source: Nature.com

Image provided by Shutterstock. All right reserved.


Comments

Re: Research Compares Teenagers Who Frequently Game to Gamblers

I like how this research doesn't use vague test measures but actual MRI-results. And more importantly, they admit they don't know which of the two is the cause.

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Mattsworknamehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-Vx4_prmvo09/01/2015 - 3:18am
MattsworknameTotal bisquit talkes about why teh Deus X pre order systems is garbage.09/01/2015 - 3:18am
MechaTama31Infophile: Kind of like how you're criticizing these theoretical reactions before you've even read any? ;)09/01/2015 - 12:44am
PHX CorpI'll probaly Start the stream around 8PM Eastern08/31/2015 - 10:09pm
PHX CorpOk, see you guys Tomorrow on the GP Facebook Page, I'll be steaming either the first 2 megaman games(Through Megaman Legacy Collection) or Rare Replay as the first game on My twitch.tv page tomorrow While we wait for GP to Come back up later this week08/31/2015 - 10:01pm
james_fudgeAlso check out our Facebook page and chat there! https://www.facebook.com/gamepolitics08/31/2015 - 9:53pm
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james_fudgeAllright, i'll mention this on the GP facebook page08/31/2015 - 9:49pm
PHX Corpand now it's ready to go for everyone08/31/2015 - 9:35pm
PHX Corpok, done http://www.twitch.tv/trustygemtwitch I have to put on one more finishing touch and it is ready to go08/31/2015 - 9:19pm
Andrew EisenFeel free to leave us suggestions on Facebook or Twitter too. We're going to be busy but we'll try our best to keep an eye on 'em.08/31/2015 - 8:59pm
Andrew EisenIt's an interesting idea though. If we do anything, we probably won't know until after the site goes offline so keep an eye on GP social media for announcements.08/31/2015 - 8:59pm
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Goth_SkunkThough I think the limit is 9 at a time in the hangout, so anyone who can't get in would be stuck out in the 'on air' portion.08/31/2015 - 8:57pm
Andrew EisenFor the show, I'd like the chat open to anyone who wants to watch.08/31/2015 - 8:55pm
PHX CorpI could Set Up a Temporary chatroom on My twitch.TV page while GP is busy updating the site(since I'll be Fighting Megaman Legacy Collection on Xbox one)08/31/2015 - 8:54pm
Goth_SkunkI don't see a problem with inviting viewers. It's not like I'm advocating this to be an open forum, just something specific to GP members.08/31/2015 - 8:53pm
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