Violent Video Games Alter Brain Function in Young Men

Violent Video Games…Temporarily, at least. Via ScienceDaily:

Sustained changes in the region of the brain associated with cognitive function and emotional control were found in young adult men after one week of playing violent video games, according to study results presented by Indiana University School of Medicine researchers at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.This is the first time the IU researchers, who have studied the effects of media violence for more than a decade, have conducted an experimental study that showed a direct relationship between playing violent video games over an extended period of time and a subsequent change in brain regions associated with cognitive function and emotional control.

The controversy over whether or not violent video games are potentially harmful to players has been debated for many years, even making it as far as the Supreme Court in 2010. There has been little scientific evidence demonstrating that the games have a prolonged negative neurological effect.

The controversy over whether or not violent video games are potentially harmful to players has been debated for many years, even making it as far as the Supreme Court in 2010. There has been little scientific evidence demonstrating that the games have a prolonged negative neurological effect.

Read more here.

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  • DeepCough

    “Video games without Big Fucking Guns are BULLSHIT!”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWr4htYp9dM

  • DeepCough

    “Video games without Big Fucking Guns are BULLSHIT!”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWr4htYp9dM

  • Marcy

    Why didn’t they also get a test-group composed of women?

    • Andrew

      Patriarchy.

    • Elmyr23

      they needed to prove a point

  • Marcy

    Why didn’t they also get a test-group composed of women?

  • Andrew

    Patriarchy.

  • Elmyr23

    i would ask if reading books might do the same? or watching certain movies, or t.v/radio shows, or listening to  old tales of past warriors/gods.

  • Elmyr23

    i would ask if reading books might do the same? or watching certain movies, or t.v/radio shows, or listening to  old tales of past warriors/gods.

  • Elmyr23

    they needed to prove a point

  • smooth_operator

    Tempted to dig into my PC game nostalgia storage box and install Max Payne…

  • Anonymous

    Tempted to dig into my PC game nostalgia storage box and install Max Payne…

  • Tenzin

    Honestly, this research is a methodological joke. What they should have done is let the control group play non-violent video games 10 hours a day. Then any differences between the two groups could justifiably be assigned to the level of violence in the one group’s games.

    It would not surprise me if I were to play (the non-violent) Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater for 70 hours in one week I’d come out emotionally slightly impaired as well. Wouldn’t have jack to do with violence, though. Almost all games simply stump you into braindeadness: I mean come on, complete days of staring into a screen while button-bashing your controller without having any real life contacts? It’s bound to have some sort of affect on you.

    “”These findings indicate that violent video game play has a long-term effect on brain functioning,” Dr. Wang said.” He didn’t prove shit regarding that violence part, though. Too bad, missed opportunity.

  • Tenzin

    Honestly, this research is a methodological joke. What they should have done is let the control group play non-violent video games 10 hours a day. Then any differences between the two groups could justifiably be assigned to the level of violence in the one group’s games.

    It would not surprise me if I were to play (the non-violent) Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater for 70 hours in one week I’d come out emotionally slightly impaired as well. Wouldn’t have jack to do with violence, though. Almost all games simply stump you into braindeadness: I mean come on, complete days of staring into a screen while button-bashing your controller without having any real life contacts? It’s bound to have some sort of affect on you.

    “”These findings indicate that violent video game play has a long-term effect on brain functioning,” Dr. Wang said.” He didn’t prove shit regarding that violence part, though. Too bad, missed opportunity.

  • Heath

    So what are the effects of ones imagination? Set up your plastic army men behind the Lincoln log base you built to take over castle Greyskull and remove He-Man from his tyrannical rule over the Thundercats. I’m going to ponder this over some stale muffins made in my easy bake oven.

  • Heath

    So what are the effects of ones imagination? Set up your plastic army men behind the Lincoln log base you built to take over castle Greyskull and remove He-Man from his tyrannical rule over the Thundercats. I’m going to ponder this over some stale muffins made in my easy bake oven.

  • Jin The Ninja

    so being raised in and informed by a violent culture has nothing to do with brain function?

    never really liked shooting games (obviously there are games w/ guns that are sick: tomb raider, rez evil)-

    BUT give me MANA and/or a sword or give me death!

    • Andrew

      > so being raised in and informed by a violent culture has nothing to do with brain function?

      How does this study not suggest the exact opposite?  Are video games not a form of culture?

      • Jin The Ninja

        of course video games are an important part of both youth and broader popular culture. i still love and grew up playing video games (neo geo, snes, genesis, sega cd, saturn, psone) and have a deep appreciation for them.

        what i MEANT (but obviously did not relate) was that the culture outside of video games (western culture generally) is built on violence and domination. video games as a commercial art medium sometimes reflects this culture of violence, and occasionally glorifies it, but largely does not intensify (or originate) the paradigm of domination and control that already exists.

        more simply, video games are only a reflection of culture and imagination.
        violence is commonplace within that culture and thus narrative portrayals of it- do not make people ‘more’ violent.

        • Anarchy Pony

          I doubt I could agree more.

        • Andrew

          They certainly don’t originate the paradigm, but I don’t see why we should consider them different from other elements of culture and their enculturating effects.  Mirrors affect the behavior of those who look into them.

          • Jin The Ninja

            i guess that explains my obvious attraction to occult tomes, shuriken, bagua and sukeban subculture…thanks shonen manga!

  • Jin (仁)

    so being raised in and informed by a violent culture has nothing to do with brain function?

    never really liked shooting games (obviously there are games w/ guns that are sick: tomb raider, rez evil)-

    BUT give me MANA and/or a sword or give me death!

  • Andrew

    > so being raised in and informed by a violent culture has nothing to do with brain function?

    How does this study not suggest the exact opposite?  Are video games not a form of culture?

  • Jin (仁)

    of course video games are an important part of both youth and broader popular culture. i still love and grew up playing video games (neo geo, snes, genesis, sega cd, saturn, psone) and have a deep appreciation for them.

    what i MEANT (but obviously did not relate) was that the culture outside of video games (western culture generally) is built on violence and domination. video games only a as a commercial art medium sometimes reflects this culture of violence, and occasionally glorifies it, but largely does not intensify (or originate) the paradigm of domination and control that already exists.

    more simply, video games are only a reflection of culture and imagination.
    violence is commonplace within that culture and thus narrative portrayals of it- do not make people ‘more’ violent. those are my thoughts anyway…

  • Anarchy Pony

    So what is their point? I play violent video games all the time, and I am the most empathetic person I know. I suppose I do have a short temper and a deep yearning to inflict violence on those I believe deserve it (autocrats, rapists, fascists, murderers, rightist libertarians, loggers). But the truth is I had that before I started playing video games…

    • Jin The Ninja

      exactly.

  • Anarchy Pony

    So what is their point? I play violent video games all the time, and I am the most empathetic person I know. I suppose I do have a short temper and a deep yearning to inflict violence on those I believe deserve it (autocrats, rapists, fascists, murderers, rightist libertarians, loggers). But the truth is I had that before I started playing video games…

  • Anarchy Pony

    I doubt I could agree more.

  • Jin (仁)

    lol Yes and Yes.

  • Andrew

    They certainly don’t originate the paradigm, but I don’t see why we should consider them different from other elements of culture and their enculturating effects.  Mirrors affect the behavior of those who look into them.

  • Jin (仁)

    i guess that explains my obvious attraction to occult tomes, shuriken, bagua and sukeban subculture…thanks shonen manga!

  • Vigilantius

    Interesting…but studies have shown that simply watching teevee in the first place tends to shut down the brain entirely and only a few of us can actually recall what we watched after watching it.

    And then of course what is the effect on young men’s minds when they actually join the military and actually kill “the bad guys?” 

    Folks…violent video games provide an outlet, specifically for young (and older) men because not so very long ago…in the context of humans being around with the same brain composition for about 50,000 years…we men were having to hunt animals for food and having to take clubs and axes to other people on a fairly regular basis to defend and protect (or pillage and loot) for the sake of our village/community/city-state, etc.  Most of us men of a certain age do things for a living that require us to be nice to people who not only do not deserve to be treated nicely, in the interest of good genetic material and survival of the fittest, they deserve to have a grenade placed in their Fruit-of-the-Looms(tm).

    Ahhh…the good old days of showing someone else their steaming entrails.

    Sigh…

  • Vigilantius

    Interesting…but studies have shown that simply watching teevee in the first place tends to shut down the brain entirely and only a few of us can actually recall what we watched after watching it.

    And then of course what is the effect on young men’s minds when they actually join the military and actually kill “the bad guys?” 

    Folks…violent video games provide an outlet, specifically for young (and older) men because not so very long ago…in the context of humans being around with the same brain composition for about 50,000 years…we men were having to hunt animals for food and having to take clubs and axes to other people on a fairly regular basis to defend and protect (or pillage and loot) for the sake of our village/community/city-state, etc.  Most of us men of a certain age do things for a living that require us to be nice to people who not only do not deserve to be treated nicely, in the interest of good genetic material and survival of the fittest, they deserve to have a grenade placed in their Fruit-of-the-Looms(tm).

    Ahhh…the good old days of showing someone else their steaming entrails.

    Sigh…

  • Simiantongue

    Read the article closely. There is simply nothing there to sustain the assumption that violent video games cause these men to be more violent.

    As a matter of fact you might expect that there would be changes in the region of the brain associated with cognitive function and emotional control to be found in young men after one week of playing ANY type of engaging video game, violent or otherwise. That’s what video games of any kind do. How about a control group playing a tasking video game that is not inherently violent. Bet they come up with identical readings on those areas of the brain.

    They leave it to the reader to make the association that since they were using “violent” video games the type of emotion that has been heightened is violent tendencies. They say there is a connection between “violent” video games and a subsequent change in brain regions associated with cognitive function and emotional control. But what does that mean exactly? Is it a negative connection, positive maybe? Were those that play violent video games more violent or more empathetic? It doesn’t say, it just says there were changes, then leaves it to you the reader to make assumptions about the connections.

    I’m no expert on these subjects but I have over the years done a lot of reading about it, so take everything I’m saying with a grain of salt. One thing that seemed to pop out at me was this.

    “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,” said Yang
    Wang, M.D., assistant research professor in the IU Department of
    Radiology and Imaging Sciences. “The affected brain regions are
    important for controlling emotion and aggressive behavior.”

    There is nothing said here that qualifies the assumption that LESS activity in certain frontal brain regions means MORE aggressive behavior. The assumption I think being that aggression is a “thing” in certain frontal lobe regions that the individual continually “controls” or inhibits. Hence the more activity there is in those regions means there will be less aggression.

    That does play into the old Dr Jeckyl and Mr Hyde(Or Hulk for those more aware of the modern pop culture version) canard of keeping the inner beast in check or repressed. So in this case they think that “more” activity in those regions of the brain means the subject is working harder to keep the aggression in check. But from what I’ve read over the years in many other studies that Jekyll and Hyde romanticism of aggression is actually somewhat backward form the reality that’s been found in cognitive studies of the brain. More activity in these areas of the brain is an indication of more aggression not less.

    It’s in the way they proffer the idea that “certain frontal brain regions… are important for controlling emotion and aggressive behavior.” Yes true, but then they infer that less activity means less control, therefore less control means your aggression is out of control. As if there is a continual state of aggression that exists and there is a “battle” within the frontal lobe to keep aggression in check. Which is not necessarily true. Certain areas of the frontal lobe can be associated with emotion and aggression, but from what I understand from other studies that have been done more activity in these areas is associated with more aggression.(Specifically more brain function in these areas means these areas are dealing with more cognition in general)  Less activity in these areas would mean a lower level of aggression.

    There are those who have made this inference outside the scientific community also, hence the term to quiet ones mind during meditation for instance. To anyone else who meditates you are also probably aware that quieting your mind with meditation does not mean practicing iron fisted control of ones mind, just the opposite in fact. It’s not at all like it’s portrayed in movies. If the assumption were true that something like aggression were always present, and when you relax “control” or reduce activity in those regions of the brain that you would get more aggression, then those who meditate should also experience an increase in aggression. But that’s not the case.

  • Simiantongue

    Read the article closely. There is simply nothing there to sustain the assumption that violent video games cause these men to be more violent.

    As a matter of fact you might expect that there would be changes in the region of the brain associated with cognitive function and emotional control to be found in young men after one week of playing ANY type of engaging video game, violent or otherwise. That’s what video games of any kind do. How about a control group playing a tasking video game that is not inherently violent. Bet they come up with identical readings on those areas of the brain.

    They leave it to the reader to make the association that since they were using “violent” video games the type of emotion that has been heightened is violent tendencies. They say there is a connection between “violent” video games and a subsequent change in brain regions associated with cognitive function and emotional control. But what does that mean exactly? Is it a negative connection, positive maybe? Were those that play violent video games more violent or more empathetic? It doesn’t say, it just says there were changes, then leaves it to you the reader to make assumptions about the connections.

    I’m no expert on these subjects but I have over the years done a lot of reading about it, so take everything I’m saying with a grain of salt. One thing that seemed to pop out at me was this.

    “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,” said Yang
    Wang, M.D., assistant research professor in the IU Department of
    Radiology and Imaging Sciences. “The affected brain regions are
    important for controlling emotion and aggressive behavior.”

    There is nothing said here that qualifies the assumption that LESS activity in certain frontal brain regions means MORE aggressive behavior. The assumption I think being that aggression is a “thing” in certain frontal lobe regions that the individual continually “controls” or inhibits. Hence the more activity there is in those regions means there will be less aggression.

    That does play into the old Dr Jeckyl and Mr Hyde(Or Hulk for those more aware of the modern pop culture version) canard of keeping the inner beast in check or repressed. So in this case they think that “more” activity in those regions of the brain means the subject is working harder to keep the aggression in check. But from what I’ve read over the years in many other studies that Jekyll and Hyde romanticism of aggression is actually somewhat backward form the reality that’s been found in cognitive studies of the brain. More activity in these areas of the brain is an indication of more aggression not less.

    It’s in the way they proffer the idea that “certain frontal brain regions… are important for controlling emotion and aggressive behavior.” Yes true, but then they infer that less activity means less control, therefore less control means your aggression is out of control. As if there is a continual state of aggression that exists and there is a “battle” within the frontal lobe to keep aggression in check. Which is not necessarily true. Certain areas of the frontal lobe can be associated with emotion and aggression, but from what I understand from other studies that have been done more activity in these areas is associated with more aggression.(Specifically more brain function in these areas means these areas are dealing with more cognition in general)  Less activity in these areas would mean a lower level of aggression.

    There are those who have made this inference outside the scientific community also, hence the term to quiet ones mind during meditation for instance. To anyone else who meditates you are also probably aware that quieting your mind with meditation does not mean practicing iron fisted control of ones mind, just the opposite in fact. It’s not at all like it’s portrayed in movies. If the assumption were true that something like aggression were always present, and when you relax “control” or reduce activity in those regions of the brain that you would get more aggression, then those who meditate should also experience an increase in aggression. But that’s not the case.

  • grey

    society teaches males to embrace their insecurities and to act out on them as much as possible… “violent video games,” if anything, aren’t the cause of this behavior, more so as it is an outlet for a mentality that is already present… a mentality that says “everything is supposed to be handed to me without me doing a damn thing.”  and “i want the title of a MAN while acting like a little pussy bitch”  .. it’s just an outlet to allow you to lie to yourself further about the power you have over others, while at the same time, helping raise the mental threshold it takes to get off on the power… it’s the same as a porn addiction.. it is purely sexually related.. and goes back to how males and females are pitted against each other on so many “differences” that it makes it impossible to have a relationship, so in turn, males are having emotional relationships with other males and females are having emotional relationships with other females and both of them are still trying to have their cake and eat it too when nobody trusts anybody, everybody lies to themselves, if people got honest, they would see they are simply a bunch of  sexually repressed homos.  

  • grey

    society teaches males to embrace their insecurities and to act out on them as much as possible… “violent video games,” if anything, aren’t the cause of this behavior, more so as it is an outlet for a mentality that is already present… a mentality that says “everything is supposed to be handed to me without me doing a damn thing.”  and “i want the title of a MAN while acting like a little pussy bitch”  .. it’s just an outlet to allow you to lie to yourself further about the power you have over others, while at the same time, helping raise the mental threshold it takes to get off on the power… it’s the same as a porn addiction.. it is purely sexually related.. and goes back to how males and females are pitted against each other on so many “differences” that it makes it impossible to have a relationship, so in turn, males are having emotional relationships with other males and females are having emotional relationships with other females and both of them are still trying to have their cake and eat it too when nobody trusts anybody, everybody lies to themselves, if people got honest, they would see they are simply a bunch of  sexually repressed homos.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Manoj-Khandelwal/1072994204 Manoj Khandelwal

     remove He-Man from his tyrannical rule over the Thundercats. I’m going
    to ponder this over some stale muffins made in my easy bake oven. Diablo2

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Manoj-Khandelwal/1072994204 Manoj Khandelwal

     remove He-Man from his tyrannical rule over the Thundercats. I’m going
    to ponder this over some stale muffins made in my easy bake oven. Diablo2

  • ps3JohnRps3

    What a interesting topic, what an amazing discovery, what a breakthrough, LIKE COME ON this is yesterdays news i hear this from my dad all the time, he’s oldschool when his generation were youth they had cool toys but not just that, safe neighbourhoods and not just that, clean air. i’m 20 i play “violent” video games for release i stress at my job i stress when people are too ignorant to check right when turning and almost smash me on my bike which happens all too often, trust me i live in victoria. bottom line, long and short unless the mind is already damaged in a way that it could be effected by this “violent” video game then anything “violent” will effect the effected, common sense to say that someone who is balanced and loving and cognitive can play a game over a prolonged time and have it somehow change that is irrational. so i say LOL, good waste of time, i think there are millions of actual problems existing in this life of ours that we should be spending time on and this is on the bottom of the  list. J. L. Rivest

  • Anonymous

    What a interesting topic, what an amazing discovery, what a breakthrough, LIKE COME ON this is yesterdays news i hear this from my dad all the time, he’s oldschool when his generation were youth they had cool toys but not just that, safe neighbourhoods and not just that, clean air. i’m 20 i play “violent” video games for release i stress at my job i stress when people are too ignorant to check right when turning and almost smash me on my bike which happens all too often, trust me i live in victoria. bottom line, long and short unless the mind is already damaged in a way that it could be effected by this “violent” video game then anything “violent” will effect the effected, common sense to say that someone who is balanced and loving and cognitive can play a game over a prolonged time and have it somehow change that is irrational. so i say LOL, good waste of time, i think there are millions of actual problems existing in this life of ours that we should be spending time on and this is on the bottom of the  list. J. L. Rivest

  • Anonymous

    What a interesting topic, what an amazing discovery, what a breakthrough, LIKE COME ON this is yesterdays news i hear this from my dad all the time, he’s oldschool when his generation were youth they had cool toys but not just that, safe neighbourhoods and not just that, clean air. i’m 20 i play “violent” video games for release i stress at my job i stress when people are too ignorant to check right when turning and almost smash me on my bike which happens all too often, trust me i live in victoria. bottom line, long and short unless the mind is already damaged in a way that it could be effected by this “violent” video game then anything “violent” will effect the effected, common sense to say that someone who is balanced and loving and cognitive can play a game over a prolonged time and have it somehow change that is irrational. so i say LOL, good waste of time, i think there are millions of actual problems existing in this life of ours that we should be spending time on and this is on the bottom of the  list. J. L. Rivest

  • Anonymous

    What a interesting topic, what an amazing discovery, what a breakthrough, LIKE COME ON this is yesterdays news i hear this from my dad all the time, he’s oldschool when his generation were youth they had cool toys but not just that, safe neighbourhoods and not just that, clean air. i’m 20 i play “violent” video games for release i stress at my job i stress when people are too ignorant to check right when turning and almost smash me on my bike which happens all too often, trust me i live in victoria. bottom line, long and short unless the mind is already damaged in a way that it could be effected by this “violent” video game then anything “violent” will effect the effected, common sense to say that someone who is balanced and loving and cognitive can play a game over a prolonged time and have it somehow change that is irrational. so i say LOL, good waste of time, i think there are millions of actual problems existing in this life of ours that we should be spending time on and this is on the bottom of the  list. J. L. Rivest

  • Anonymous

    What a interesting topic, what an amazing discovery, what a breakthrough, LIKE COME ON this is yesterdays news i hear this from my dad all the time, he’s oldschool when his generation were youth they had cool toys but not just that, safe neighbourhoods and not just that, clean air. i’m 20 i play “violent” video games for release i stress at my job i stress when people are too ignorant to check right when turning and almost smash me on my bike which happens all too often, trust me i live in victoria. bottom line, long and short unless the mind is already damaged in a way that it could be effected by this “violent” video game then anything “violent” will effect the effected, common sense to say that someone who is balanced and loving and cognitive can play a game over a prolonged time and have it somehow change that is irrational. so i say LOL, good waste of time, i think there are millions of actual problems existing in this life of ours that we should be spending time on and this is on the bottom of the  list. J. L. Rivest

  • Little_green_chicken

    28 person study…what a joke. No matter how hard they try, they will never find a link between violence and video games, do you know why? The whole world has been the experiment for 30 years and societal violence hasn’t increased at all…

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