How video games affect the brain?

Video gaming is definitely an increasingly popular type for entertainment. gamers spend 3 billion hours a week on their televisions. Because of their extensive use, researchers have investigated how video games impact our brains and behavior. Do these changes have positive or negative effects? We analyze the evidence. Also Read: How to Make a Monster in Little Alchemy 2?

On an eagle’s eye, more than 150 million gamers within the United States play video games frequently, or for at least three hours each week. The typical American player is 35 years old adult, and 72 percent of players are 18 and over. When it comes to video games played by children, the majority of parents – 71 percent – affirm that video games positively impact their child’s lives.

The sales of video games continue to grow year over year. In 2016 the video game market produced over 24.5 billion games – an increase by 23.2 billion sold in 2015 and 21.4 billion in 2014.

The top three video games of 2016 included Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, Battlefield 1, and Grand Theft Auto V. The games fall under the first-person shooter and action-adventure genres – the two top genres, with 27.5 percent and 22.5 percentage of the sales respectively. First-person shooters and action genres are frequently as being accused of provoking aggression and inducing the development of addiction and violence.

The decades of research into video games and violence haven’t produced an agreement between scientists. Researchers have not been able to determine a causal link between video games and physical violence that occur in our real world.

The evidence is growing, however, suggests that video games can impact the brain and, in turn, it can cause changes to many brain regions.

Scientists recently collected and reviewed the results of the 116 studies conducted by scientists to find out the ways in which video games affect our brains and behavior. The findings from their study have been presented in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

In examining the entire research conducted to date, Palaus and his team set out to determine if any patterns have emerged in relation to how video games affect the structure and function that the brain. A total of 22 of the studies reviewed focused on structural changes within the brain, while 100 studies examined changes in brain function and behavior.

The results of these studies show the fact that gaming doesn’t just alter how our brains function but also alters their structure.

For instance, playing video games is believed to influence attention. The research studies in the review demonstrate that gamers who play video games exhibit improvement in various types of attention, like focused attention and sustained attention. 

In addition, the regions in the brain which are involved in attention become more effective when playing compared to non-gamers and require less activity to stay focussed on tasks that require a lot of attention.

Evidence also suggests the fact that video gaming can increase the size and capability of the brain’s regions responsible for visuospatial capabilities which allows a person to recognize spatial and visual connections between objects. For long-term players and those who had signed up to adhere to a video game program, the right hippocampus became increased. Also Read: How to Make Land in Little Alchemy 2?

For those who are addicted to gaming, there are structural and functional changes in the reward circuits in the neuronal system, an array of brain structures involved with the feeling of pleasure and learning as well as motivation. Exposing addicts to the game’s cues which trigger cravings, and the monitoring of their brain’s responses identified these changes, the same changes are seen in other addiction disorders.

“We focused on how the brain reacts to video game exposure, but these effects do not always translate to real-life changes,” says Palaus. The study of the effects of gaming on the brain is in its early stages and researchers are still analyzing how gaming affects which brain regions and how.

“It’s likely that video games have both positive (on attention, visual and motor skills) and negative aspects (risk of addiction), and it is essential we embrace this complexity,” Palaus continues.

A group of researchers at Florida State University has stated that consumers should be skeptical of ads that promise an improvement in brain performance that results from brain-training games. They’ve stated that science is not in support of these claims.

Brain-training games played by children didn’t improve the cognitive performance of older adults. Also Read: How to Make Sun in Little Alchemy?

“Our findings and previous studies confirm there’s very little evidence these types of games can improve your life in a meaningful way,” says Wally Boot, associate professor of psychology and an expert in age-related cognitive decline.

The public is increasingly misled into believing that brain-training apps protect them from memory loss or cognitive problems.

Researchers investigated whether playing brain-training games improved the memory of participants and, consequently, improved their cognitive skills, such as reasoning memory, memory, and processing speed, which researchers refer to as “far transfer.” However, it was not the scenario.

“It’s possible to train people to become very good at tasks that you would normally consider general working memory tasks: memorizing 70, 80, even 100 digits,” Explains Neil Charness, professor of psychology and a renowned authority on cognition and aging.

“But these abilities tend to be extremely specific and do not demonstrate an abundance of transfer. The main thing seniors, particularly, must be worried about is, if I am very adept at crosswords but will it assist me in remembering the location of my keys? The answer is likely not,” he adds.

Charness mentions that if you’re trying to enhance your cognitive performance Aerobic exercise could aid in this goal. A few studies have found that aerobic activity, rather than mental activity improves brain function.

However, a research study that was published in Nature found that by the use of a specially developed 3D-video game cognition performance could be improved for older adults, and certain of the negative effects on the brain that are associated with aging were reversed.

A tiny amount of training in the brain can reverse the effects of the decline in brain function caused by age.

Scientists from the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) affirm that this offers evidence in the field of brain fitness that has been criticized for lack of evidence that brain training can trigger lasting and meaningful changes.

Following 12 hours of practice over the course of about a month, the participants aged between 60 and 85 years had improved their performance in the game. Their performance beat that of players in their 20s who played this game at first. 

Furthermore, two additional cognitive areas were improved, namely working memory and the ability to maintain attention. These abilities were sustained for 6 months after the end of the training. Also Read: How to Make a Container in Little Alchemy 2?

“The finding is a powerful example of how plastic the older brain is,” says Dr. Adam Gazzaley, Ph.D., UCSF associate professor of neurology, physiology, and psychiatry, and Director of the Neuroscience Imaging Center. Professor. Gazzaley notes that it is encouraging to know that even a small amount of training for the brain can help reverse certain brain declines that happen with the aging process.

A recent study by neurobiologists from UCI. University of California-Irvine (UCI) discovered that playing 3D video games may also aid in the production of memories. Participants were divided into one group of participants who played games with video in a two-dimensional environment or a 3-D one. After playing for 30 minutes a day for two weeks, the participants were administered tests of memory that stimulated their brain’s hippocampus.

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