Scientists have discovered that the brains of people, who regularly play computer games is different from the brain of ordinary people. The study published in Translational Psychiatry magazine suggests, that the brain reward system which functions during the addiction process, was increased in adolescents who play video games.
An international team of scientists found out if computer games alter brain structure.
They ranked 154 14-year-olds according to the number of hours per week spent playing video games, with an average of about 9 hours per week. Those who played more than 9 hours were classified as constant players, but no one was classified as a dependent.
A brain scan showed an increase in the ventral striatum, which is the so-called brain reward system among constant players. According to one of the researchers from Ghent University in Belgium, Dr Simone Kuhn, “this part of the brain is usually activated when people expect a positive impact and have fun, e.g. gambling, having a good meal or sex.” Furthermore, this brain region is active in drug addiction.
Scientists can not yet answer whether the increase in the brain reward system is due to games, or a natural increase in area of the brain led to the obsession with computer games. According to Dr Luke Clark from the University of Cambridge these two factors are likely to be the cause of drug dependence: long-term drug use affects the brain and the innate susceptibility for some people.
“It certainly seems likely that prolonged computer games can change the brain structure” – said Dr Clark. But, according to him, there is no direct evidence of this fact. To dig deeper and understand true nature of the phenomenon it is necessary to monitor changes in brain structure over longer time.
Scientists are now asking adults who have never played a computer game to start playing. Thus, the researchers hope to find out is whether the long game to change the brain.
When did you become addicted to video games or was it in your genes?