Research Compares Teenagers Who Frequently Game to Gamblers

November 17, 2011 -

Researchers at the Charité University Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in Berlin, Germany, found that gamers who play "frequently" have greater left striatal gray matter volume compared with those that are considered to be moderate gamers. Researchers say that these findings show the importance of "striatal volume and activity in shaping preference of skills for video gaming."

"The key finding of higher volume in left ventral striatum associated with frequent video game playing is in conceptual accordance with findings of enhanced dopamine release during [this activity] and excessive gambling in Parkinson's patients [given] dopaminergic medication," the investigators write.

Researchers were led by Simone Kühn, PhD, from the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Department of Experimental Psychology, Ghent Institute for Functional and Metabolic Imaging, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; Charité University Medicine; and Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Berlin and Braunschweig, Germany. They analyzed MRI scans of 154 14-year-olds from the IMAGEN project, a European multicenter genetic neuroimaging study in teenagers.

Participants were divided into groups, based on a median of 9 hours weekly spent playing video games into 2 playing categories: frequent (76 total - 24 girls, 52 boys) and moderate (78 total - 58 girls, 20 boys).

Researchers found that the frequent gamer group had a significantly increased volume of left grey striatal matter compared with moderate gamers, which in turn was associated with higher functional MRI activity when not winning in a gambling task. The increased activity was negatively correlated with deliberation time in betting, as evaluated using a Monetary Incentive Delay task used to assess brain activity during reward anticipation and reward feedback.

"Individuals with higher ventral striatum volume might experience video gaming as more rewarding in the first place. This in turn could facilitate skill acquisition and lead to further reward from playing," the authors write. "If the striatal differences observed in the current study are indeed an effect of gaming, video gaming might pose an interesting option to explore structural changes in addiction in future studies."

The IMAGEN study receives research funding from the European Community's Sixth Framework Program and is supported by the UK Department of Health National Institute for Health Research–Biomedical Research Center 'Mental Health' and a MRC program grant. Additional funding was provided by the Berliner Senatsverwaltung. The study was published online November 15 in Translational Psychiatry.

If you enjoy seeing the same information interpreted by English newspapers, then you'll find the reports from The Daily Mail and The Telegraph amusing.

Source: Nature.com

Image provided by Shutterstock. All right reserved.


Comments

Re: Research Compares Teenagers Who Frequently Game to Gamblers

I like how this research doesn't use vague test measures but actual MRI-results. And more importantly, they admit they don't know which of the two is the cause.

 
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Craig R.Do conspiracies ever make sense? The fact that people are now having to defend themselves against nutjob websites like Breitbart.com shows how far down into the rabbit hole we've all been forcibly dragged.09/18/2014 - 7:05pm
Michael ChandraBut when the mountain obviously exists...09/18/2014 - 5:49pm
Michael ChandraMind you, if someone makes a mountain out of a molehill with a secret agenda as motive, it'd be fine.09/18/2014 - 5:48pm
Andrew EisenOkay, so I guess I'm not making sense of #notyourshield because it doesn't make any sense.09/18/2014 - 5:28pm
Andrew EisenI'd really only count three as being "death of gamer" articles and only one as arguably going a bit far with "gamers are young white dudes" stuff.09/18/2014 - 5:17pm
Andrew EisenMost are really just a look at the crap that happened the previous day when Sarkeesian's new video came out and almost all are exceedingly clear that they're talking about the specific gamers who are being obnoxious.09/18/2014 - 5:17pm
Andrew EisenKrono - Yep, I had only seen two. I looked at the 12 you sent and while I had seen a few of them, I didn't think to count them. Some aren't about gamers at all. One's just highlighting two others. One is a Gamasutra community member blog post.09/18/2014 - 5:15pm
Michael Chandrawould clearly not apply, since they weren't used as shield. It's more "hey, just because I don't agree with you doesn't mean I'm CISWASP."09/18/2014 - 5:08pm
Michael ChandraIn comparison though, the more extreme views would be fairly countered with "you don't speak for me". But the batshit crazy people tend not to even use others as the shield to defend their batshit crazy ideas and insults, so at that point #notyourshield09/18/2014 - 5:06pm
Michael ChandraWhich is of course real silly because when there are so many horrible stories and statistics too, it's utterly irrelevant whether some don't mind.09/18/2014 - 5:00pm
Michael ChandraIn this context it would be women claiming they don't see a problem with the stuff, so stop claiming women don't like it!09/18/2014 - 5:00pm
Michael Chandra"You don't speak for me. I am not your shield. You cannot use me to defend your own opinion."09/18/2014 - 4:59pm
Michael ChandraAE, if we leave aside the falsehoods some use with the term, the idea is regarding minorities and such.09/18/2014 - 4:58pm
Michael ChandraKrono did just a bit earlier in the shoutbox prh99.09/18/2014 - 4:56pm
Andrew EisenI still don't get the what #notyourshield is supposed to mean. Who is unfairly using who as a shield for what?09/18/2014 - 4:43pm
prh99Didn't said anything about #notyourshield or it's origins. Assuming your comment was directed at me.09/18/2014 - 4:28pm
prh99Leigh Alexander is right though, no one has to cater to them (trolls). I think a lot of them would likely continue playing even if scantily clad women were omitted or protagonist was female.09/18/2014 - 4:21pm
Michael ChandraSo no, normal gamers feeling attacked was not what sparked #notyourshield and only a fool would suggest otherwise.09/18/2014 - 4:21pm
Michael Chandra#NotYourShield was kickstarted by 4chan people, so don't go and make nonsense claims about that.09/18/2014 - 4:20pm
prh99those toxic individuals conduct their trolling under. It could have easily been under the Men Rights banner etc, they are just generally unpleasant and angry people who can't stand people disagreeing with them. 09/18/2014 - 4:00pm
 

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