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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MaskedPixelantehttp://m.tickld.com/x/something-you-never-realized-about-guardians-of-the-galaxy Right in the feels.08/29/2014 - 6:56pm
AvalongodAgain I think we're conflating the issue of whether Sarkeesian's claims are beyond critique (no they're not) and whether its ever appropriate to use sexist language, let alone physical threats on a woman to intimidate her (no it isn't)08/29/2014 - 5:04pm
prh99Trolling her or trying to assail her integrity just draws more attention (Streisand effect?). Which is really not what the trolls want, so the only way to win (if there is a win to be had) is not to play/troll.08/29/2014 - 5:02pm
prh99Who cares, just don't watch the damn videos if you don't like her. Personally, I don't care as far as she is concerned as long there are interesting games to be played.08/29/2014 - 4:34pm
Andrew EisenZip - And yet, you can't cite a single, solitary example. (And no one said you hated anyone. Along those lines, no one claimed Sarkeesian was perfect either.)08/29/2014 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenSaint's Row: Gat Out of Hell was just announced for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One making it the 150th game For Everything But Wii U! Congratulations Deep Silver!08/29/2014 - 3:49pm
ZippyDSMleeI do not hate them jsut think its mostly hyperlobe.08/29/2014 - 3:40pm
Andrew EisenSleaker - I'd say that's likely. From my experience, most who have a problem with Sarkeesian's videos either want to hate them in the first place (for whatever reason) or honestly misunderstand what they're about and what they're saying.08/29/2014 - 3:16pm
james_fudgeWe appreciate your support :)08/29/2014 - 2:55pm
TechnogeekIt gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, the gaming community is not statistically indistinguishable from consisting entirely of people that your average Xbox Live caricature would look at and go "maybe you should tone it down a little bit".08/29/2014 - 2:49pm
TechnogeekI just want to say that while I've disagreed with the staff of this site on several occasions, it's still good to see that they're not automatically dismissing Anita's videos as a "misandrist scam" or whatever the preferred dismissive term is these days.08/29/2014 - 2:49pm
E. Zachary KnightZippy, So you can't find even one?08/29/2014 - 1:04pm
ZippyDSMleeAndrew Eisen:Right because shes prefect and never exaggerates... *rolls eyes*08/29/2014 - 12:53pm
SleakerAnd honestly, nearly all of the games she references, or images she depicts I've always cringed at and wondered why they were included in games to begin with, from pinups through explicit sexual depictions or direct abuse. I think it's cheap storytelling.08/29/2014 - 12:35pm
Sleaker@AE - aren't most people fundamentally misunderstanding her at this point? haha.. On a related note I think a lot of the backlash is coming from males that think she is telling them their 'Generic Male Fantasy' is bad and wrong.08/29/2014 - 12:33pm
Andrew EisenAnd no, I don't think the female community would be upset over the performance of a case study in and of itself. Possibly the mostivations behind such a study, the methodology or conclusions but not the mere idea of a case study.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
Andrew EisenAmusingly, these videos aren't saying you can't/shouldn't use tropes or that sexual representations are inherently problematic so those are very silly things to have a problem with and indicate a fundamental misunderstanding of the series.08/29/2014 - 12:29pm
SleakerDo you think the female community would get extremely angry over a male doing a case study on the negative impact of sex-novels and their unrealistic depiction of males and how widespread they are in american culture?08/29/2014 - 12:25pm
SleakerThe other thing that people might find problematic is that they see no problem with sexual representations of females (or males) in games. And realistically, why is there anything wrong with sexual representations in fiction?08/29/2014 - 12:24pm
SleakerTo even discuss or bring up these issues at a cultural level to begin with. Going straight for games to many probably feels like a huge overstepping given that it's interactive story in many cases, and when you're telling a story why can't you use tropes.08/29/2014 - 12:21pm
 

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