How Video Games Change Your Brain

How Video Games Change Your Brain


When I’m playing Assassin’s Creed or Call
of Duty, my brain is totally absorbed in this virtual environment. But what happens to my
brain when I come out of it? Is it different? This WEEK, we humans will spend 3 billion
hours playing video games; 1.2 billion people play regularly… 99 percent of boys and 94
percent of girls under 18 lock their eyeballs on a video game quote “regularly” according
to game designer and author Jane McGonigal. That’s an incredible amount of time living
in what amounts to an alternate reality for the brain. A study from the Proceedings of the Royal
Society B that came out last December (I think it just came out in the journal – maybe the
study was conducted last December?) , looked at the brains of gamers while playing and
offer another alleged turn in the thumbscrews of action games… Their study found that
video game players have a less robust striatum nucleus — the part of the brain that constructs
an internal representation of the outside world. Essentially, games aren’t helping people learn
to map the real world, at least according to this study. Action gamers are using something
called “response learning” instead of the more advanced “place learning.” To simplify, imagine you’re trying to get
to a familiar place like a friend’s house or your favorite restaurant: “response learning”
is when your brain creates a map using landmarks; but “place learning” is an advanced internal
map so you know to turn based on distance and direction — it’s the difference between
associating lots of little bits of information … “I have to turn when I see the gas station”
as opposed to combining that information into an understanding of the external world. These researchers think the action video game
players are under-developing their striatum to such a degree that it might affect them
throughout their lives; they may even develop a neurological disorder! Some news outlets
have called this a risk of Alzheimers, but that’s a pretty damn big jump. Here’s the thing: for every study of games
negatively affecting our brains there are plenty of studies saying the opposite. A study
in July of last year in Molecular Psychiatry put gamers into magnetic resonance imagers
to reveal how grey matter was developing in their cabezas. They found a correlation in
the size of the entorhinal cortex, and left occipital cortex/inferior parietal lobes related
to their ‘joystick years’ or the amount of time they played certain video games. According to their results, people who played
more logic, puzzle, and platform games had a larger entorhinal cortex, but action-based
role-playing games had a smaller one. The entorhinal cortex works with the hippocampus
to create memories and maps of your life — so you know when and where something happened
as well as how it fits in with what happened the day before, or last time you met that
person. Another study in that journal from February of the same year found similar results
using games like Commander Keen and Super Mario 64. Science is saying, platformers and
logic games are great for the entorhinal cortex, even while action-based games aren’t. That being said, however, the hippocampus
and grey matter in ALL video game players had added plasticity overall! Plasticity is
the ability for the brain to adapt and change neural pathways. More plasticity is better!
And it’s not just the plasticity, a study done with chimpanzees published in Science
News last month assessed how chimps brains responded to video games. After teaching them
to play a cooperative game, the researchers found cells in the chimp’s brains predicted
what the next move of the OTHER chimp 79.4 percent of the time! These chimps understood
what was going on in the brains of their co-op players. We KNOW video games change how our brain works,
but whether that’s a good or bad thing seems to change as new research comes out… We
cover this research all the time. For instance, do videogames make you more aggressive? Joe
Bereta explores that idea in this episode

100 comments

  1. Why tech elites heavily restrict or ban their child's use of technology like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Chris Anderson, Alex Constatinopole, etc. They don't give them to use tech or 30 min per day, why, because they know the best how dangerous this is. They promote it for us but ban for their own kids, it's telling you enough.

  2. Aside from maybe computer chess, I don't really play video games anymore, but I don't see the harm as long as it's in moderation.

  3. Yes , it’s make you angry, lazy , un focused, super addictive, and you’re wasting half of your life in that f room . You’re not learning daily skill. And more.

  4. I started gaming at 3 I'm now 10 my first game was serious sam 2 and I've got cod bo4 cod bo1 and inwarfare and modern warfare I'm really good I can't describe it

  5. How about this, I play 8-9 hours of video games everyday, and sometimes the gui of the games blends in to my life in the real world like for example the GTA V minimap randomly pops up at the corner of my vision or sometimes I see stuff from video games like the dragon from Skyrim flying in the sky, and sometimes I even hear theme songs of video games randomly, I’m starting to get concerned, is it bad?

  6. I prefer my kids to play video games instead of hanging around with bad influence from doing drugs or other stupid stuff..

  7. I do play Pubg and Fortnite for more than 2 years and I didn't noticed any violence signs in me, but my reflexes had improved so much. I do catch a glass before it hit the ground from a table, speaks real fast and my eyes they can grab information in seconds (say I can read data on ticket which is still printing and moving fast).

  8. Whenever I do a mistake on math I always look for the delete button… I’m not even joking I play video games WAAAAY too much

  9. How is this different than social media addiction!? Thats even worse all day with a hunchback scrolling down… thats worse than video games, atleast im having fun with video games. Social media addiction is worse and no one talks about it. I play video games moderately and go to the gym and have a career, im not affected by them. They make my stress go away when i cant go to the gym.

  10. It depends how much you use it and how you use it. I use the internet a lot but i dont let it change my social life.

  11. I play csgo and when you play csgo you kill VIRTUAL players controlled by real people. If it was real life and I was controlling a robot to fight another robot I would not mind destroying it. If I was just driving around I wouldn't just stab someone with a knife because that's a real living person with a family and friends and a job. If I did something like that I would never forgive myself.

  12. Action based games like FPS games (CSGO) can increase survival instinct. Better reactions, judgement on what to do and better vision (can see things when it's going very fast). If Action gamers went to stone age, conquering earth is a easy task but getting them to work is a hassle.

  13. Videos games are suppose to be enjoyable , not stress pounders inside my brain , or another job , for example A GAME CALLED ARK SURVIVAL , the developers made it into a job , where if you do not visit youre dinos or base , that suddenly everything starts to decay and die , so basically youre obligated to go into the stupid game that you worked hard for , even though you are tired from work in the real world , you still have to log in to add more stress , so thats why i said F u K youre video game , i stopped playing now im enjoying watching movies excercise and bieng a little more active , nomore working on a stupid game , hell no.

  14. I believe that playing games is fine and i dont think its always wrong or right, its case to case basis.
    Even though im not a game addict, i dont judge those people who are. Its just that everyone have different interests. Some love writing stories and etc..and its nice to see how diverse we are as humans. Playing Games also have advantages too.

  15. 94% of girls under 18 play video gamers and 99% of boys under 18 play…. I mean I firmly believe A LOT of people play games…but those statistics just can't be right.

  16. my mom told me to that playing games a lot will lead to drugs. so i start spending time outside and hanging out and then i start to do alcohol and smoking. from going outside. I wish i just stayed inside playing games.

  17. I used to play once and a while but now I play everyday and I really need to stop, because I noticed its causing me to have lack of sleep

  18. Without giving a benchmark to how big a change it is this data is nearly worthless. That said I personally believe people should limit or avoid video games when parts of their life arent in order.

  19. If you see things like these and your parents are hearing them DISTRACTION These news people are dooshbags

  20. I don't understand how this could be a respected scientific study. Humans have been using landmarks for determining their location long before video games ever existed. So who's the man who thinks he has the advanced brain with advanced mapping capabilities?

  21. I have excellent spacial awareness and i dont operate via landmarks and street names. I have excellent recollection of where i was and i can be somewhere once to then be able to find it again every time. I play FPS for over 20 years and my brain if anything i way above average. So no, playing videogames does not make you underdevelop anything. If anything it makes you develop somethings at a much faster rate than it would occur without gaming.

  22. I played alot of videogames and I am still smartest person in my class (probably in school too). Also playing racing and FPS games increased my reflex so much

  23. its good that people are finally talking about this. i think its scary where the whole gaming scene is going and what its doing to young impressionable minds.. i look around and all i see is zombies with apathetic eyes :/ a little bit of gaming wouldnt do you any harm (i guess??) but try not to play more than an hour a day.. live your life. make friends and memories or just go explore nature on your own. dont waste your precious life staring at flashing pixels 🙂

  24. competitive gaming requires a lot of concentration and quick reaction time you uneducated potato!!!

  25. I don't play many games and I'm still not the smartest. Yet, apparently, 1 hour of gaming is the reason I'm not getting at least 90% in my "grade 7 science English and math" exams. I have teachers who teach students in grade 10. so we get really harsh marks.

  26. Lol my dad is 44 and he plays Assasins Creed,GTA 5 and The Sims 4,and my 63 years old grandma plays that shooting bubbles game,my 40 years old aunt plays Candy Crush Soda etc…Basically,my whole family plays game except my mom and my grandfather

  27. I feel that there are both negative and positive effects of video games, depending on how you live life with them.
    For me in my case, video games, regardless of what genre, plot, or content in game, it sparks my imagination in many ways.
    Take Emily Kaldwin's Far Reach ability from Dishonored 2, the fact that it was an embodiement of darkness inspired me to reboot an old character i revisited named Shadow, who is also an assassin who can control shadow abilities and creatures from the shadow dimension. And he is strongly inspired from the Dishonored assassins. And this is just one of the many examples video games sparked my imagination.
    So in my opinion, it does pretty good for me because it gives me ideas.

  28. Video games could change the world and we could have schools in VR but no homework. But we can’t always stay facing at screen and we can make video games helpful in any way. And video games are not really bad but it’s the people that play them say if a player gets mad because he died in the game and why he got mad is because the brain tricked him into thinking it was real life but it’s not people got to realize games are games and life is life video games may look like real life but there not . People do need to realize between games and real life!

  29. Video games could never ever give the result of physical exercises and workouts. The stress relief and mental health gained through video games are nothing compared to those of physical workouts. Moreover, games destroys many physical capabilities and our body

  30. The people that need help are the ones that take gaming to serious let's say GTA 5 the players on their do nothing but bang out the game so much till they good at it like harassing players who wanna play the game the way it's ment to be played

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