New University of Montreal study reports a strong link between first-person shooter games and significant brain damage.
Can video games be a leading cause of youth violence? Can online discrimination change a person? Is there a correlation between brain damage and video games? There are tons of questions out there suggesting that video games have a negative influence over the human mind. The third question is where the University of Montreal decided to put their focus on.
FPS vs. Gray Matter – Significant Shrinks Inbound
In a study involving nearly 100 participants (51 men and 46 women), published in “Impact of Video Games on Plasticity of the Hippocampus” by Greg West, Véronique Bohbot and al, the subjects were forced to play 90 hours of first-person shooter games from series such as Call of Duty, Killzone, and Borderlands, as well as other 3D games from the Super Mario series. After playing for so long, tests clearly demonstrated that the players had a smaller level of gray matter compared to patients that don’t play games.
“Video games have been shown to benefit certain cognitive systems in the brain, mainly related to visual attention and short-term memory, but there is also behavioral evidence that there might be a cost to that, in terms of the impact on the hippocampus.” – Greg West (Associate Professor of Psychology at UdeM)
“That’s why we decided to do a full neuro-imaging study, scanning the brains of habitual players of action video games and comparing them to non-players, and what we saw was less grey matter in the hippocampus of habitual players. We then followed that up with two longitudinal studies to establish causality, and we found that it was indeed the gaming that led to changes in the brain.”
Unfortunately, the online publication fails to mention over what time lap where the subjects forced to play the 90 hours. What we do know though, is that players who spent more time playing puzzle oriented titles failed to show the same diminution of gray matter.
As a media observer and gamer, I must say that I have my own opinion on the matter. It is crucial to keep an open mind and accept the fact that video games do have an impact on both our brain and lives. Whether for good or bad all depends on which study you prefer to believe, but I believe that something happens nonetheless.
What Game Genre Gets You Angry?
I am no scientist, so I might be wrong about this, but I would like to give my opinion on the matter. I have done some research online following the publication of this “discovery” – I remember seeing something similar a few months back. After some snooping around, I found it. Last year, a study was made connecting gray matter and emotions. In short, from what I understood, people who are prone to get angry and have aggressive behavior have seen a shrink in their gray area.
I don’t know about you, but from what experience I have with video games, online games, especially first-person shooters, are the ones that get angry the easiest. If I was to play for a long period of time an FPS game, giving the fact that I do not excel at those, I would definitely feel angry. What if the 100 or so participants shared that feeling with me, which isn’t unlikely, does that mean that the emotion of anger could have had an important impact in this experiment? Which comes to my ultimate question: In the study performed by the University of Montreal, how many of the participants playing FPS games were getting angry at the game?
In the study performed by the University of Montreal, how many of the participants playing FPS games were getting angry at the game?
I have reached out to the University of Montreal with my findings for comments. Stay tuned for further updates!