Are Video Games Evil After All?
You will hear some people saying video games are ruining your eyes. Then you will also hear that video games are melting your brain. You will hear many bad things about the effects of video gaming on our health. Some of these allegations are true of course since it can’t be good to spend such a significant amount of time in front of a computer screen. Therefore, the criticism addressed against video gaming is very common, but it is fair to say these allegations, in fact, border on clichés. Today we are interested in those problems backed up by and founded in actual science, rather than listening to people’s personal opinions.
Recent Study Conducted by the University of Montreal
A new study suggests there are some concerns revolving around video gaming. The study was carried out by a group of researchers from the University of Montreal who concluded playing common shooter games may damage the hippocampus area of the player’s brain eventually causing the brain to lose cells. The study also suggests that video gaming could weaken the brains of younger population as well as put them at greater risk of dementia in their later life. However before you decide to sell your Xbox and PlayStation, it should be noted that scientists also have cautioned against drawing any firm conclusions from this particular study since it is based on very small sample size.
So now you wonder which study you should trust. There are countless studies which have offered various conflicting conclusions on how video gaming is affecting our both physical and mental health. Therefore, it may be very challenging to get that sense of the good and harm caused by video gaming. There is no other choice, but to weight up the evidence yourself. However, you will most likely see there are both good and bad things caused by video gaming. Before you conclude on your own, let’s see what other scientists said on the subject.
The Effects of Prolonged Video Gaming Exposure
Famous psychologist Simone Kühn back in 2013 studied the effects of prolonged video gaming exposure on the brains of a younger population or young adults. He has found that different areas of grey matter in the brain expanded significantly while playing. Then he observed several subjects while playing popular game Super Mario 64 for about thirty minutes per day for two months. Then he compared MRI scans of those who played the game with the brains of a control group. Simone discovered that the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, and cerebellum had all grown significantly.
The prefrontal cortex is involved in higher cognitive functions like strategic planning and cognitive control. The hippocampus is involved in memory while the right areas of the hippocampus are mainly involved in spatial navigation helping us with orientation. The cerebellum is involved with motor functions. The regions in which he finds significant changes were quite predictable since the regions affected are those involved in motor function, strategic planning, and cognitive control. So, this study conducted by Simone Kühn revealed that video gaming is quite beneficial when it comes to the parts of the brain involved in spatial navigation, strategic planning, cognitive control and motor function.
Video Game Players Favoring Shoot-Em-Up Games Are More Likely to be Ferocious and Aggressive
The study conducted by Simone has shown that video gaming is good for our health, but there are many other studies which have shown that video gaming is bad for us as well. Last year a group of prominent psychologists claimed that video game players who like to play shoot-em-up games are more likely to become ferocious and aggressive when offline. They also claimed that players spending too much time playing these video games are at more risk of committing crimes due to the nature of the shoot-em-up games.
Aggressive Affect Related to Video Gaming
The American Psychological Association and its leading psychologist, Dr. Mark Appelbaum after examining several groups of people involved in video gaming, concluded there is a consistent relation between video gaming and increases in violent and aggressive behavior. He stated that aggressive affect and aggressive cognitions are commonly followed by a decrease in pro-social behavior, sensitivity to aggression and empathy.
The American Psychological Association report gathered the data from more than three hundred video games all comprised of thousands of statistics from various previous surveys and tests. The report also cited there are some variations among different individual studies, but a consistent as well as a strong general pattern has emerged from those previous years of research on the subject.
Video Gaming Makes You Happier and More Self-Aware
Another study conducted Berni Good who is a cyberpsychologist providing psychological services and consultation for gamers concluded that video gaming makes people happier and more self-aware. She has conducted intensive studies in an attempt to gauge significant games’ effects on our overall state of mind and health. She stated that her study has shown positive psychological effects behind video gaming. One conclusion of her robust research is that gamers may easily address their psychological needs through playing video games. Extensively researched was Self Domination Theory or SDT. Regarding this theory, Bernies discovered three key needs with Self Determination Theory which are related to the sense of wellbeing and motivation.
The first key is our need to feel competitive in something in order to master it. Feeling competitive is involved in mastering the gameplay as well as progressing through the game’s levels. There is also our need to relate to someone in a meaningful way and her research has shown that video game players feel quite rewarded while sharing their experiences with others within the video gaming community like social media and multiplayer environments. Self-determination Theory is our need to try to master our destiny and these studies have shown that in video gaming this need is addressed extremely well, with choosing that certain map, characters, and paths players take in the game.