The Neurology of Gaming

A project led by OnlineUniversities highlights recent findings from several research originations pertaining to the perceived positive and negative neurological effects of Video Games on the human Brain. 

Certain shooters, for example, reinforce cellular connections, strengthen synapses, and improve the premotor and parietal cortex — which basically translates to an improvement of hand/eye coordination and response time in space shooter games like the Gradius series .

Prefrontal cortex improvement (logical thinking and complex decision making) is improved by games like Othello and Tetris. While nearly all games increase dopamine levels which is involved with learning and feelings of reward and fulfilment.

In addition, video games can increase way-finding skills, the ability to reason and solve new problems independently of previously acquired knowledge and strengthen teamwork and develop collaboration skills.

However, first person shooter and other 'gun' related action games showed less activity in the rostral anterior cingulate cortex and amygdala — which researchers suspect could have several outcomes, helping to give the player the ability to think in the midst of a small crisis more logically by suppressing their emotional responses to cope with their violent actions.

Sadly, extremely violent contents in games seem to increase aggressive responses and increase active suppression of emotional responses. While extreme long-term playing can lead to obesity, attention problems, anxiety and poor school performance.

Gaming is a wonderful passion that I, and Apotheosis Studios, powerfully supports, however, like nearly all things in life, playing video games must be done in healthy moderation with an understanding and respect of its possible consequences when perused (and designed) inappropriately. 

Although OnlineUniversity are not the first to publish a report such as this, they have transferred the research data onto a handy infographic, highlighting the positive and negative effects of gaming with the help of colorful visuals. Click Here for for the full infographic overview.

Comment

Jamison Stone

Jamison is the Director and Lead Writer of Apotheosis Studios. In addition to his professional career, Jamison is also a Trustee, Committee Chair, and grant writer for the W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation, an organization which provides grantmaking programs in education, youth development and early childhood development.