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Violent Video Games Alter Brain Function in Young Men

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posted on Dec, 7 2011 @ 01:37 PM
From reported on 11/28/11

CHICAGO, -- A functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) analysis of long-term effects of violent video game play on the brain has found changes in brain regions associated with cognitive function and emotional control in young adult men after one week of game play. The results of the study were presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America(RSNA).

This study was funded by the Center for Successful Parenting... upon whose website homepage the first words you may read are:

"Our mission is to help parents understand the consequences of our children viewing video viollence."

Bias much?

Here are some details from the RSNA press release:

... But there has been little scientific evidence demonstrating that the games have a prolonged negative neurological effect.

"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."

Apparently, in the world of the radiological professional community "one week" is "long term."

For the study, 22 healthy adult males, age 18 to 29, with low past exposure to violent video games were randomly assigned to two groups of 11. 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.

OK, these guys had previously "low exposure" to such video games... half played for one week, the other half didn't play at all.

Each of the 22 men underwent fMRI at the beginning of the study, with follow-up exams at one and two weeks. 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.

OK, not a peer-professional here, so I will assume that this kind of testing was adequate to determine the result they cite.

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.

So after the "long term" week's worth of exposure these people, who had been playing a game of virtual violence which demands reflexive reactions devoid of real-life consequences, they showed signs of... well.. just that... reflexive reactions that do not require emotional evaluations.... Rocket sicence! A week after laying off the game they began to return to their former selves (assuming that they had become mindless killing machines in the interim.)

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

I suppose my bias and enjoyment of the occasional violent war game of violence-prone MMORPG renders me incapable of recieving this dictum with anything less than amusement and disdain.

For those interested - when the Supreme Court ruled that the sale of such games cannot be banned without violating free speech, we had a couple of threads on the topic:

Not sure I can offer anything other than my misgivings about any such declaration as "These findings indicate that violent video game play has a long-term effect on brain functioning," after a one week trial on 11 guys with any kind of respect.

I wonder if this isn't one of those 'studies' (which we seem to be increasingly exposed to) where the sponsor paid to have their talking points affirmed.

I don't deny that repetetive actions and situation in these games can linger in the minds of those who play them without any modicum of control, but then, isn't that the domain of parents to moderate?

Thanks for reading.

edit on 7-12-2011 by Maxmars because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 7 2011 @ 01:43 PM
Flawed study is flawed.

Very small sample size. 22 people? I had more than double that for my college research project.

EVERYTHING you do alters your brain in the long run. If you stare at a blank wall for long enough, your brain function will change, probably more than the effects of video games.

They don't say if this is a temporary change or permanent.

Flawed study is flawed.

You have to understand that virtually every study nowadays will exaggerate results. It's the only way to get your research published. Sad, but true. They are trying to find a solution to this problem, but it's rather difficult.

Want to see a crazy exampled of this...actually it's just outright lying...
the studies that show secondhand smoke causes cancer...they show the opposite(Maybe not the opposite, persay, but you get my drift).

edit on 7-12-2011 by Ghost375 because: (no reason given)

edit on 7-12-2011 by Ghost375 because: (no reason given)

edit on 7-12-2011 by Ghost375 because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 7 2011 @ 01:45 PM
Well I like video games. That was basically my childhood right there. Video games is not a factor in violent behaviors in children or teenagers and if it is it's not a huge factor. Did anyone even look at todays movies to even see that that has a HEAVY influence on people, especially kids and teenagers. But I am biased so what do I know.

posted on Dec, 7 2011 @ 01:49 PM
I have mixed feelings on violent video games affecting me. I guess they have kind of desensitized me to blood and gore, and I have no problems butchering innocents in games. My GF has problems watching me doing this saying things like "what of that guys family! why would you do that!, He wasn't bugging you! etc.Especial when it comes to FPSs. "you realize that people actually do what you're doing"

However, when I switch of the game and get back into reality I'm still shocked and applaud at the violence around the world and take no joy in reading about atrocities. However, I can usually watch/look at the graphic sences and not flinch or look away.

edit on 7-12-2011 by Vardoger because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 7 2011 @ 01:50 PM
As a former MMORPG gamer for years, I concur that some video games have effects that are similar to drug withdrawal symptoms and behaviors. I am not stimulated by killing everyone in every game, besides sports games it's hard to find an adult non-violent game.

Some examples of video game withdrawal behaviors...

posted on Dec, 7 2011 @ 02:54 PM
I used to play these games a few years back Quake Unreal tourny etc and I had a lot of fun. Too old now though, cant keep up with the young'ns anymore

I think these continued STUDYS on the affects of these games are a smoke screen to cover the real problem and a lot of people are not going to agree with me because its their favourite hobby.

24/7 365 Violence Murder Rape and Torture, all in extreme graphic detail, pumped directly into your home.
A child starts life to the sound of screaming soap familys wanting to kill each other. A little older and the child can sit up and watch the violence and murder etc. A little older and the child has a television in the bedroom and gets to watch even more violence rape murder torture etc 24/7 365

And then!!! The TV companys have the nerve to suggest that we keep our children away from those nasty video games and...god forbid.. dont let them near... THE INTERNET!!!

posted on Dec, 7 2011 @ 02:56 PM
Oh, how surprising. Another "video games are bad" study (for lack of a better word) from a "video games are very bad" website, preaching that video games are bad while also screaming to high heavens "think of the children!" Why don't we just speed things up and put nanochips in the back of their skulls and give them a shock when they have ''wrong thoughts''.
I'm no researcher, but my form of common sense dictates that kids getting violent because of people trying to steer them on the path that they think is right. Here's an idea, let them think for themselves, and if they try to harm others or themselves, then start to intervene. Not try to control every aspect of their lives.

posted on Dec, 7 2011 @ 03:09 PM
The brain is as if plastic.

It adapts based on experiences, and stimulus.

I've intuitively shunned violent video games, violent movies, zombies/vampire movies, amd other trashy programming.

I see mindless zombies walking around who love to play mmorpg and watch ....mindless zombie flicks

It's a self fulfilling prophesy. They don't even realize that they're just feeding a negative feedback loop which leaves them demoralized, and begging for another fix

It's their soul that hurts. They are, unconsciously, the mindless zombies they seek.

posted on Dec, 7 2011 @ 08:13 PM
I've played all types of video games. Growing up in the dawn of the Ps, 64, Xbox, I was exposed to all sorts of violent games and I played every dang one(thanks mom!). Being only 20 now, that was when my fragile mind was going through "important development"
and currently Im doing just fine. Sure I still get caught up in an emotional rush, but that just means it was a GOOD GAME!
Now I wouldn't be surprised if all the young kids today hopped up on meds, processed junk food and no good role models along with ridiculous army games having an effect. All of which reflect our dumbed down society. People need to take a step back and not start pointing the finger at video games...

posted on Dec, 15 2011 @ 01:17 PM
I think a very important variable is being ignored in this discussion, and with very good reason.

We, at ATS, pride ourselves in independent thought. We ignore the status quo, read between the lines, and research, research, research. We are not easily influenced by our environments. And we are the exception, not the rule.

Unfortunately, we freethinkers are flanked by followers. These environmental sponges operate from one main locus of control: observe and react. If the POTUS says do it, they do it. We ATSers see this every day. And what our experience and humility doesn't allow us to understand is that we are very fortunate to observe, ANALYZE, and then react. We simply can't relate to the way most folks operate. Most folks can't formulate the hard questions, let alone answer them.

I would fully expect your average ATSer to become immersed in a violent video game, and without fully accepting and absorbing that environment as reality, easily transition to reality without hoping for time to re-load. By the same token, I would fully expect the average sheep's brain to integrate the video game's reality into their own, possibly as an adaptation to acing the game, and have a much harder time with the transition back to reality.

I appreciate what you all are saying, but you're allowing an exceptional trait you have to blind you to the reality of Joe Average. That concludes today's back-handed complement.

ETA: even the army knows this.
edit on 12/15/2011 by chasingbrahman because: (no reason given)

posted on Dec, 24 2011 @ 02:55 AM
reply to post by Maxmars

You have to understand that the organization in question is a very traditionalist leaning organization. Tradiionalism as we know it, has it's roots in the Matriarchal Mothers of the Republic Women's rights movement.

And one thing both right and left-wing Women's rights movements have always obsessed about is male autonomy(and ways to end it). This is more about controlling young men then it is about what is best for young men. Because this organization wants young men to stop playing video games and focus that attention on young women, and doing what women want them to do.

Within say 5 more years those misandrist's will realize it is not the video games and it is them. Then things should get interesting.

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