Violent video game effects linger in brain: study

By Susan Kelly

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Teens who play violent video games show increased activity in areas of the brain linked to emotional arousal and decreased responses in regions that govern self-control, a study released on Tuesday found.

The study used functional magnetic resonance imaging to record tiny metabolic changes in brain activity in 44 adolescents who were asked to perform a series of tasks after playing either a violent or nonviolent video game for 30 minutes.

The children, with no history of behavior problems, ranged in age from 13 to 17. Half played a T-rated first-person shooter game called "Medal of Honor: Frontline," involving military combat, while the other group played a nonviolent game called "Need for Speed: Underground."

Those who played the violent video game showed more activation in the amygdala, which is involved in emotional arousal, and less activation in the prefrontal portions of the brain associated with control, focus and concentration than the teens who played the nonviolent game.

"Our study suggests that playing a certain type of violent video game may have different short-term effects on brain function than playing a nonviolent, but exciting, game," said Dr. Vincent Mathews, a professor of radiology at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis and the study's author.

After playing the games, the children completed tasks requiring concentration and processing of emotional stimuli while their brain activity was scanned. Alterations in brain function reflecting changes in blood flow appeared as brightly colored areas on the magnetic resonance images.

"What we showed is there is an increase in emotional arousal. The fight or flight response is activated after playing a violent video game," Mathews said.

The findings were presented at a meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

The $13 billion U.S. video game industry, with revenue rivaling Hollywood box office sales, is at the center of a cultural battle over violent content. Lawmakers' various attempts to ban the sale of violent video games to children have been blocked by courts in Louisiana, Illinois, California. Michigan and Minnesota.

Video games with a T-rating (for Teen) are considered suitable for ages 13 and older. They may contain violent content, strong language or suggestive themes.

Numerous behavioral and cognitive studies have linked exposure to violent media and aggressive behavior. Now, researchers are using advanced imaging technology to scan the brain for clues to whether violent video games cause increases in aggression.

Mathews said he hopes to conduct additional studies on the long-term effects on brain function of exposure to violent video games.

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited
If you are implying Violent Video Games lead to violence then your completely bass ackwards and its been incontrovertabley shown.

They decrease violence, alot.

Its really pretty much just an Issue people rail on so they can blame the failure parents to raise their children on boogey men and scape goats.

"Oh, billy didn't go nuts and kill people because you didn't actually look after him and he was raised by TV and take was Video Games!/Rock Music!/Comic Books!/Horror Movies!"

Look at Colpy.... way too old to have played video games but thinks it's the rationale of an intelligent adult that one could or should "contain" a billion Chinese "militarily"....

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.
Quote: Originally Posted by ZzarchovView Post

If you are implying Violent Video Games lead to violence then your completely bass ackwards and its been incontrovertabley shown.

I'm not implying anything, the author of the article is
So what if the Amygdala is showing heightened responses. Not only is it the center for emotional arousal, it is also the center for long term memory creation. The resultant decrease in concentration and focus is a result of learning patterns of buttons, and actions performed in the game. Call it muscle memory if you'd like. Often when you begin playing a video game, the learning curve depends on how well you learn to use the controller to move about. The emotions involved with say your characters death is what heightens these responses like "emotional arousal".

Do the responses to blowing up a characters head in a video game correspond in some respect to popping the ballon at the sideshow amusement with a .22? My point is that if the reward being worked toward is "viloent" there are degrees of violence and it would be interesting to examine if the neural response to hacking a person to death with a sword or knife is the same as hitting someone in the face with a cream pie....

If it its the same, why aggrandize violence in video games? If it isn't the same why isn't it the same?
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