Some video games have been proven to boost brain activity. But perhaps unsurprisingly, the more violent mindless ones show the opposite.
Indiana University researchers have published the findings of their latest study, which has indicated that "violent games lower brain activity in regions associated with cognitive function and emotional control."
Using participants aged 18 to 29 who have had minimal exposure to violent video games in the past, the study split 22 males into two groups: the first group had to play a violent shooter for 10 hours over a span of one week, and then take the next week off. The second group didn't play any violent games in that same two-week period. Then everyone underwent an fMRI, where participants completed an "emotional interference task of pressing color-coded buttons assigned to violent or nonviolent action words." They also had to do a cognitive-inhibition counting task.
The results showed that those who played the shooter had less activity in the left inferior frontal lobe during emotional tasks, and less activity in the anterior cingulate cortex during the cognitive testing (yeah, lots of big words). The effect diminished after two weeks away from the violence of the game. Said Yang Wang M.D.:
"For the first time, we have found that a sample of randomly assigned young adults showed less activation in certain frontal brain regions following a week of playing violent video games at home. These brain regions are important for controlling emotion and aggressive behavior."
So essentially, are they saying the affected regions mean the players are less able to control emotion and aggressive behavior? Or they're simply less likely to react? Well, either way, we wouldn't be surprised to learn that just playing violent video games makes you a little dumber, and a little more desensitized. Hardly a shocker there.