Center for Successful Parenting-Backed Research Says Violent Games Change Brain

November 28, 2011 -

According to a press release issued this morning by the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), new research shows that violent video games alter the brain functions in young men. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to analyze the long-term effects of violent video game play on the brain, researchers found that changes in brain regions associated with cognitive function and emotional control in young adult men occur after one week of game play. The results of this study were presented at the annual meeting of the RSNA.

"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."

The study examined 22 "healthy adult males," age 18 - 29, with little or no exposure to violent video games. The young males were randomly assigned to two groups of 11 people. Members of the first group were instructed to play a shooting video game for 10 hours at home for one week and refrain from playing the following week. The second group did not play a violent video game at all during the two-week period.

All 22 men underwent fMRI at the beginning of the study, with follow-up exams at the one and two week mark. During fMRI, the participants completed an "emotional interference task," pressing buttons according to the color of visually presented words. Words indicating violent actions were interspersed among nonviolent action words. In addition, the participants completed a cognitive inhibition counting task.

Researchers say that the results showed that after one week of violent game play, the video game group members 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 to their baseline results and the results of the control group after one week." After the second week without game play, the changes to the executive regions of the brain were diminished.

"These findings indicate that violent video game play has a long-term effect on brain functioning," Dr. Wang said.

The co-authors of the study include Tom Hummer, Ph.D., William Kronenberger, Ph.D., Kristine Mosier, D.M.D., Ph.D., and Vincent P. Mathews, M.D. The research is supported by the Center for Successful Parenting in Indiana. The group is all about showing how violent media ruins children. You can check out their web site here. It currently features an alert on how the recent decision in Brown v. EMA has left America's children "Unprotected."


Comments

Re: Center for Successful Parenting-Backed Research Says ...

My own personal study says that playing trough Portal 1 and Portal 2 makes your brain 12 percent more awesome.

Re: Center for Successful Parenting-Backed Research Says ...

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"WARNING GUARANTEE: This post contains material which a truly free society would neither fear nor suppress."

Re: Center for Successful Parenting-Backed Research Says ...

The press release can be found here : http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/violent-video-games-alter-brain-...

It's basically an update on Kronenberger's previous research, except that he and his colleagues focused on the short-term effects : http://www.rsna.org/rsna/media/pr2006-2/violent_video_games-2.cfm

Readers may be interested by Howard Nusbaum's dismissal of Kronenberger's research here, pages 17-24 : http://www.jenner.com/files/tbl_s18News/RelatedDocuments147/1984/ESA_v_B... (Cheryl Olson and Lawrence Kutner mention it in their book Grand Theft Childhood)

 

Re: Center for Successful Parenting-Backed Research Says ...

The result of the study is going to show whatever the party funding it wants it to show. There's never any real science in any of these studies except for the ones that disprove someone's political agenda in which case those factual studies are just swept under the rug and ignored.

Re: Center for Successful Parenting-Backed Research Says ...

22 males, 10 hours of gaming spread out across one week... paid for by a group with a particular outcome in mind, and they expect us to believe that they found statistically significant changes in brain structure?

For some strange reason I am skepical of their findings...

Re: Center for Successful Parenting-Backed Research Says ...

Wait... the emotional task was sorting words by color...

I am glad that it just says it changes the brain without leaping to a conclusion though.  In my mind I think a violent games helps differentiate what is real from what is not in most cases.  In this case a word in a color sorting test is meaningless with no grounding in the real world.


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