Violent Games Affect Brain Function
Before getting to the news, this research does not really come down on either side of the ‘Are video games bad for kids?’ debate.
Researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine have recently released their findings into how violent video games can affect a young man’s brain. Starting with 28 men, aged 18-29, who had little exposure to violent video games, two groups of 14 were formed. One group served as the control and did not play video games for two weeks, while the others played a shooting game for 10 hours at home for one week, and did not play the next week. Before the experiment began, and after one and two weeks had passed, the researchers performed fMRI scans on the men to measure the activation of certain areas of the brain.
The men who had played the video games for a week had shown reduced activation in parts of the brain linked to emotional control and aggressive behavior. This was found after the week of gaming, but the exam the following week showed activation levels returning to those of the control group, though still not the same.
This indicates there is a long-term effect on brain functions by violent video games. However, this research does not explicitly link violent behavior to video games. Continued gaming could possibly lead to behavioral changes, but such a conclusion is beyond this study.