Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Violent video games and our brains

Violent video game effects linger in brain Reuters/Yahoo!News 11/28/06 "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...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...Dr. Vincent Mathews, a professor of radiology at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis "

It's going to take a while before a better understanding of how certain video games affect kids brains and adult brains. For instance does Age of Empires activate the same areas as a first person shooter like Medal of Honor? And are there lasting effects or only short term effects? And how negative are the effects? The indications so far are that first person shooters aren't doing kids any favors. I haven't seen much research on fps games on adults. More research to come. We need much more.

For now it seems like a safe guideline for kids is the game rating system - with occasional exceptions to a higher rating for certain resource allocation games like AOE or Civ series - few games work the logic/planning centers of the brain like these.

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