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How Violent Video Games Can Influence Your Brain

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Game violence and mental health

The first research focused on analyzing the effects of violent video games on the brain produced spectacular results. After scanning the brains of many young people who spent a week playing violent games, 10 hours daily, scientists have observed significant changes in brain activity.

The study used magnetic resonance imaging to scan the brains of many young people, randomly chosen, and was also applied verbal psychological tests and counting tasks. One group played violent computer games for 10 hours over a week, then stopped. The results of the tests were then compared with those obtained from a control group who did not play any violent game, like shooting games, for example.

Game violence and mental health

After just one week, gamers brains showed less activity in brain regions responsible for emotional and environmentally aggressive control. Dr Yang Wang, a researcher at the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences of Medicine area of the University of Indiana (Indianapolis) said that “for the first time I discovered that a random sample of young adults showed a reduced activation in certain brain regions of the frontal lobe, after a week in which they played violent video games at home.”

However, researchers have reservations about a causal relationship between the two elements. Any new learned activity, causes changes in the brain activity visible on a scan using magnetic resonance imaging. Therefore, the study does not prove that playing violent games clearly alters behavior.

But Dr. Wang said, the fact that a later scan (another week after the test) revealed a return to normal levels of brain activity shows that “violent games can have lasting effects on brain functioning.” Areas whose activity appears to be affected are related to cognitive function and emotional control.