kids playing shooter games

Stand back


There’s a batch of stories reporting on the latest research into how violent videogame play affects the brain.  The relatively new tool of functional MRI (fMRI) scanning lets scientists peek inside our skulls to get a sense of what’s going on deep inside, and what they’re finding on the vidgame front isn’t pretty.

One of the better write-ups about the new study comes from Time, excerpted here

The brain changes don’t appear to be permanent, but documenting that the brain does change in response to playing a violent game — even just for two hours a day for a week — is a significant advance in understanding how young players may be affected by these games.

The brain changes that [Indiana University’s Dr. Vincent] Matthews’ group saw were similar to those seen in teens with destructive sociopathic disorders, and his results, along with those from previous studies showing shorter-term effects, have been used in court cases by parents and others hoping to limit violent game play among young children.

“Individuals and parents of children who choose to play games need to be aware that there are changes in brain function and they need to consider that when they decide whether or not to play these games,” says Matthews.

… and found in full here, in their Healthland section.  No one can yet say for sure whether game playing ultimately affects real-life behavior (more on that in this article, which reports on a metastudy showing there is indeed solid evidence tying violent gameplay to more aggressive behavior).
To play it safe, though, you might want to hold off on your next Halo binge in favor of, hmm, maybe reading more Wide Lantern articles.  Just sayin’.
violent videogame pic

From Manhunt

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