In a story that makes me cringe for all the wrong reasons, we reported earlier today about a new study that shows how playing violent video games has an effect on certain areas in the brain:
Compared with the group that played the nonviolent game, the group that played the violent video game demonstrated less activation in the prefrontal portions of the brain, which are involved in inhibition, concentration and self-control, and more activation in the amygdala, which is involved in emotional arousal.
My reaction is, “So what?”
There is an obvious need for some concentration and self-control in playing any video game, violent or not. The fact that someone playing a violent video game — a game specifically designed to arouse an emotional, not a logical, reaction — has less of an emphasis in these areas is not a surprising finding. In fact, it is exactly what any researcher in video game research would have expected.
The fact is, video games have been around now for over 30 years. That’s 3 decades worth of examining their negative effects. And looking at how a whole generation (or two, or three, actually) has grown up with these video games and what their effects are on their productivity, happiness, likelihood to commit a criminal act, etc. No research has shown that these effects lead to long-term changes in behavior.
Next, they’ll conduct a study that shows when a person is riding a roller coaster, it has similar effects on the brain!