Put Down the Controller ‘Cause That Video Game Might Literally Be Making You Violent
Question for you guys — when you played video games as young men, did you ever get so frustrated that you threw the controller across the room and suffered through a screaming, clawing tantrum? Well, it may not be entirely your fault.
Adding to the growing evidence suggesting violent video games may make people more aggressive, a new study shows young men who play them had decreased activity in the brain areas associated with inhibition, attention and decision-making. FYI, less inhibition can mean more aggression.
The study also showed that after the guys profiled didn’t play the games for a week, some of the lost brain activity returned, but Vincent Mathews, MD, president and CEO of Northwest Radiology Network in Indiana, said, “We don’t know the effects of years and years of gaming.”
Michael Lipton, MD, PhD, associate director of the Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York, says that although the findings are very preliminary, he’s not surprised by them.
“There have been a lot of studies that expose people to novel behaviors, and you see changes in brain activity that then go away. The question is: How does that translate into real world [behavior]?” he said.
Next up: studies to determine whether pro-social games that promote constructive activities can lessen the effects of violent games on brain activity.