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Violent video games affect brain

29th November 2006

01082006_ComputerProblem1.jpgViolent video games activate regions of the brain linked to emotional response, but limit activity in areas which govern self-control, a recent study in the United States has found.

Researchers say violent video games can affect brain physiology and the way it functions.

Adolescents who played a violent video game during a study led by Vincent Mathews, professor of radiology at Indiana University School of Medicine, showed increased activity in the amygdala, which is involved in emotional arousal.

This was detected by functional MRI scans. They then performed tasks requiring measured concentration and inhibition, showing a decreased function in pre-frontal areas associated with these capacities.

A control group which played non-violent video games showed less amygdala arousal, according to the study of 44 adolescents who were randomly assigned to violent or non-violent games.

Video games accounted for U.S.$10 billion in sales in the United States last year.

Mathews' study was presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago.


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