My mother and I were just having this conversation last week when I was home visiting for the holidays. One of my two older brothers is seemingly always on edge. Very snippy and says negative and sometimes hurtful things to the people that love him the most. My mother fears it is a result of the video game he plays on a daily basis where he shoots and kills zombies.
And while previous studies have attempted -- and some have had success -- to draw a correlation between playing violent video games and an increase in real world aggression, the results are mixed.
But now, researchers in the Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis claim to have found scientific evidence demonstrating that the games have a prolonged negative neurological effect.
The Entertainment Software Association reports that 97 percent of U.S. teens play games either on the computer, Web or console. Sixty percent of all gamers are male. The average 2010 gamer spent an average of eight hours a week playing video games and 50 percent of male gamers admit to playing games rated as mature.
That sounds like an alarmingly high number of gamers and if they’re playing violent, aggressive games, the video games’ impact could be widespread.
The team of researchers recently conducted a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) analysis of long-term effects of violent video game play on the brain and found “changes in brain regions associated with cognitive function and emotional control in young adult men after one week of game play.”
According to a release on the study, “(Twenty-two) 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.
“Each of the 22 men underwent fMRI at the beginning of the study, with follow-up exams at one and two weeks.