Study attempts to link violent games with decreased brain function

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For years now, politicians and agenda-fuelled researched have been trying to find a direct correlation between violent video games and violent, anti-social behaviour. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (magnets, how DO they work?), they’ve attempted to show that violent games lower brain activity in those regions generally associated with cognitive function and emotional control.

Gamespot reports that according to the research, those exposed to violent video games exhibit decreased activity in the left inferior frontal lobe during emotional tasks and  similarly lowered activity in the anterior cingulate cortex during cognitive tests? What does it all mean? Really? Not a damned thing. The 44 test subjects were split in to two groups and made to either play violent games for weeks, or not play games at all. 44 is a terribly small slice of the gaming population to quantify any real research; oh wait – they didn’t include any actual gamers in the study, instead opting for people with “minimal exposure to violent games.” It’s entirely possible their distorted brain readings stem from the fact that they don;t know how the heck to play games.

Still, the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences at Indiana University School of Medicine seems chuffed with their results.

"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 Indiana University assistant research professor Yang Wang, M.D. "These brain regions are important for controlling emotion and aggressive behaviour."

I’ve always thought these researchers who actively tried to peg violent games as bad for people are dicks – but a guy whose name is Wang? Well that just proves it.

Last Updated: November 29, 2011

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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