Study Shows Violent Video Game Effects Linger In Brain

MA-Caver

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Violent video game effects linger in brain
By Susan Kelly 1 hour, 58 minutes ago
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061128/wr_nm/videogames_brain_dc
CHICAGO (Reuters) - 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, a study released on Tuesday found.

The study used functional magnetic resonance imaging to record tiny metabolic changes in brain activity in 44 adolescents who were asked to perform a series of tasks after playing either a violent or nonviolent video game for 30 minutes.

The children, with no history of behavior problems, ranged in age from 13 to 17. Half played a T-rated first-person shooter game called "Medal of Honor: Frontline," involving military combat, while the other group played a nonviolent game called "Need for Speed: Underground."

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.

"Our study suggests that playing a certain type of violent video game may have different short-term effects on brain function than playing a nonviolent, but exciting, game," said Dr. Vincent Mathews, a professor of radiology at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis and the study's author.

After playing the games, the children completed tasks requiring concentration and processing of emotional stimuli while their brain activity was scanned. Alterations in brain function reflecting changes in blood flow appeared as brightly colored areas on the magnetic resonance images.

"What we showed is there is an increase in emotional arousal. The fight or flight response is activated after playing a violent video game," Mathews said.

The findings were presented at a meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

The $13 billion U.S. video game industry, with revenue rivaling Hollywood box office sales, is at the center of a cultural battle over violent content. Lawmakers' various attempts to ban the sale of violent video games to children have been blocked by courts in Louisiana, Illinois, California. Michigan and Minnesota.

Video games with a T-rating (for Teen) are considered suitable for ages 13 and older. They may contain violent content, strong language or suggestive themes.

Numerous behavioral and cognitive studies have linked exposure to violent media and aggressive behavior. Now, researchers are using advanced imaging technology to scan the brain for clues to whether violent video games cause increases in aggression.

Mathews said he hopes to conduct additional studies on the long-term effects on brain function of exposure to violent video games.

More studies reveal more of what most of us suspected all along. Desensitizing our minds (and spirits) to images violent, sexual, etc. can mess us up, and mess up our kids. Maybe not ALL but there is now growing evidence that prolonged exposure can have harmful effects on the precious few.
Thoughts, comments?
 

Marginal

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I'd be more impressed if they actually gave useful information in the article. Increased? How much?
 

Andrew Green

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So is this why I always have a earge to jump on mushrooms and try to bang my head through brick ceilings....
 

Bigshadow

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"Medal of Honor: Frontline"

My son loves the Medal of Honor games!

As for my thoughts on it, I don't think there are any real effects on the kids. My son is emotional alright, but not in the agressive sort of way. ;) So I don't know that the study proves anything really.

Hell, when I was a kid we played 1st person shooter games (we played with toy guns out in the fields in my neighborhood) and I turned out OK (I think...;) ). I am sure they found what they did, but what are the real results? I don't think it really means anything, just they got those results.

Just my opinions.
 

Andrew Green

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Hell, when I was a kid we played 1st person shooter games (we played with toy guns out in the fields in my neighborhood) and I turned out OK (I think...;) ).

That I think would be a interesting study. Compare video game violence to other, "traditional" forms of violent play.

If I had to guess I'd say video games make people less violent in reality, although perhaps with more graphic violent thoughts, just less likely to act on them.

I'd say that is unhealthy in a way, because our instincts still occasionally tell us "be violent" and without that "play" violence in real life, there is no understanding of real violence, just a stylized video game version. When people do snap, they follow the video example, not get into a fist fight like they might otherwise have done.

I got no stats, just a theory, but IMO kids need more violence, just less graphic and real life based. Water guns, stick fighting, plastic swords, wrestling, boxing, all the good stuff that is often left out now :)
 

Bigshadow

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That I think would be a interesting study. Compare video game violence to other, "traditional" forms of violent play.

If I had to guess I'd say video games make people less violent in reality, although perhaps with more graphic violent thoughts, just less likely to act on them.

I'd say that is unhealthy in a way, because our instincts still occasionally tell us "be violent" and without that "play" violence in real life, there is no understanding of real violence, just a stylized video game version. When people do snap, they follow the video example, not get into a fist fight like they might otherwise have done.

I got no stats, just a theory, but IMO kids need more violence, just less graphic and real life based. Water guns, stick fighting, plastic swords, wrestling, boxing, all the good stuff that is often left out now :)

Sounds plausible. :)
 

heretic888

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Thoughts, comments?

I spent much of my childhood playing games like Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat, Duke Nukem, Castlevania, and a host of other "violent" video games. I continued to play these into high school.

Guess what? I graduated with an International Baccealaureatte degree, National Merit award in English, was listed in Who's Who Among American High School Students, a Bronze Congressional Medal, a scholarship to a local community college, and managed to find the time to hop three ranks in kung-fu.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't buy the "they're messed up" hypothesis of playing video games.

Laterz.
 

mrhnau

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I spent much of my childhood playing games like Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat, Duke Nukem, Castlevania, and a host of other "violent" video games. I continued to play these into high school.

Guess what? I graduated with an International Baccealaureatte degree, National Merit award in English, was listed in Who's Who Among American High School Students, a Bronze Congressional Medal, a scholarship to a local community college, and managed to find the time to hop three ranks in kung-fu.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't buy the "they're messed up" hypothesis of playing video games.

Laterz.

LOL A big portion of our generation grew up with those games. I'm not writing them off yet...

however, I must admit this. it might increase the odds of violence. alot of kids are susceptible to this. Just like everyone knows some old lady that is 90 and has smoked for 70 years w/out cancer. The odds are not in her favor, and finding some 90 year old smoker will not encourage me to go out and smoke.

This article was interesting... I'd like to read more when I get the time. First kind of scientific proof of things. I'd like to see similar work with possibly movies, music, language, etc... could prove interesting...
 

fireman00

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We are living in the most brutal and violent times EVER! Violent 1st shooter games are being linked in more then one study in having an extremely detimental affect on youth. "'In television and movies, whenever an injustice needs to be righted, or a character becomes bothersome the solution is to blow them away. It's quick, provides instant gratification, and makes the purveyor of the act a hero '" However, depending on whose feels they have been wronged the "hero" may well be a cop who brought down a killer or it could be a kid that was slighted at school and is determined to extract revenge.

Folks who in turn say that music and violent movies are also to blame should take note that these are passive forms of entertainment - the participant doesn't get extra points for killing a cop then urinating on him or beating a woman to death like the "enterainment" that Grand Theft Auto offers.

Lt. Col. Grossman - author and physcologist at West Point has written "Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill" http://www.killology.com/new_media_vio.htm
 

Makalakumu

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I'm sorry, but I just found this statement mind-numbingly hilarious.

When you consider the amount of people that have been killed last century in all of its wars combined, this statement is not so hilarious.

We produce more weaponry in this day and age then in any other. We produce more dangerous weapons in this age then in any other.

...and we have used those weapons.

Yes, I know this is off topic, but, don't be so quick to laugh it off...
 

Andrew Green

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But, at the same time, we are very disconnected from that violence.

Compare what a child experiences in terms of violence now, in North America to Europe durring the World Wars, in Vietnam, Korea, right now in Iraq, durring the Crusades, the French Revolution, the American Civil War, etc.

We live a relatively peaceful existance right now.
 

heretic888

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But, at the same time, we are very disconnected from that violence.

Compare what a child experiences in terms of violence now, in North America to Europe durring the World Wars, in Vietnam, Korea, right now in Iraq, durring the Crusades, the French Revolution, the American Civil War, etc.

We live a relatively peaceful existance right now.

Exactly.
 

mrhnau

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When you consider the amount of people that have been killed last century in all of its wars combined, this statement is not so hilarious.

We produce more weaponry in this day and age then in any other. We produce more dangerous weapons in this age then in any other.

...and we have used those weapons.

Yes, I know this is off topic, but, don't be so quick to laugh it off...

I'll have to agree w/ Heretic on this one. Man has been killing man since the beginning. The atrocities mankind has committed did not start over the past century. I don't think man is any more brutal or violent than any other time. I just think he has more efficient tools to express those emotion.

I'm sure more men have been killed in this past century. We have also had a larger population than any other time in history. Our weapons of war are much more efficient at killing. Automation has increased the number of weapons, so thats not too suprising either.
 

heretic888

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I'll have to agree w/ Heretic on this one. Man has been killing man since the beginning. The atrocities mankind has committed did not start over the past century. I don't think man is any more brutal or violent than any other time. I just think he has more efficient tools to express those emotion.

Correct, although we have been much more brutal during earlier epochs of human history (and prehistory).

There was once a time when legalized slavery was common practice across the globe. This is no longer the case. Similarly with intermittent tribal wars and an almost lack of regard for how we treat criminals or prisoners of war. Then, of course, there has been the obscenely (by modern standards) inequitable treatment of women, other ethnicities, the elderly, the handicapped, minors, and domesticated animals.

I don't disagree there are still very violent regions of the world, but I don't think fireman00 was talking about the Middle East in his post. If you compare the modern West to the medieval West, it is no contest which was the more "violent" and "brutal".

Just something to put things in historical context.

Laterz.
 

CoryKS

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When you consider the amount of people that have been killed last century in all of its wars combined, this statement is not so hilarious.

We produce more weaponry in this day and age then in any other. We produce more dangerous weapons in this age then in any other.

...and we have used those weapons.

Yes, I know this is off topic, but, don't be so quick to laugh it off...

Yeah, but most of that took place before the rise of violent FPS games. Although I've heard that WWII was the result of an all-night Castle Wolfenstein game over at Adolf's. :rofl:
 

Makalakumu

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Yeah, but most of that took place before the rise of violent FPS games.

I often wonder if all of that didn't have an effect on our collective psyche however.

People from the past would probably be astounded at the level of carnage last century.
 

mrhnau

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I often wonder if all of that didn't have an effect on our collective psyche however.

People from the past would probably be astounded at the level of carnage last century.

FPS games have only been around for a few years. Well after the largest war casualties (WW2, Viet Nam, etc). Effective war technology came before FPS games. Nuclear weapons, rockets, airplane bombers, napalm, etc...

People from the past would be astounded at many things in the last century. Population increase, treatment of diseases, computers, cars, planes, all aspects of science, etc... Almost all aspects of technology have increased. Lots of things to be astonished at :)
 

Makalakumu

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FPS games have only been around for a few years. Well after the largest war casualties (WW2, Viet Nam, etc). Effective war technology came before FPS games. Nuclear weapons, rockets, airplane bombers, napalm, etc...

And I would find it hard to believe that the development and use of these things hasn't had a collective effect on our psyche. One has to wonder if these games would be so popular if push-button death weren't so chic.

People from the past would be astounded at many things in the last century. Population increase, treatment of diseases, computers, cars, planes, all aspects of science, etc... Almost all aspects of technology have increased. Lots of things to be astonished at :)

True dat! :)
 
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