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 > Technology Addiction  > Video Game Addiction: Study Shows Certain Games Decrease Parts of Brain

Video Game Addiction: Study Shows Certain Games Decrease Parts of Brain

Video Game Addiction: Study Shows Certain Games Decrease Parts of Brain

Technology has brought with it many fantastic things. It allows us to communicate with each other across seas and look up more information than all the libraries in the world with just a few flicks of a finger. It has vast benefits, but it’s becoming clear that there are also downsides that come with it, one of them being video game addiction.

Video games have evolved since the days of Pong and Pac-Man. They’re more interactive and complicated than ever–but many also contain a level of violence never seen before in games.

According to new studies, it seems that the type of interaction and genre of the video game can either negatively or positively impact an individual’s brain.

How video games can affect the brain

Researchers from the University of Montreal and McGill University in Canada recently conducted a set of studies with the intent of learning more about the effects of video games on the brain. What they found may help in understanding why video game addiction poses a real risk to health.

The researchers discovered that video games can impact the area of the brain called the hippocampus. This part of the brain is in charge of navigation, spatial learning, and memory. It is an essential part of healthy cognition.

When the hippocampus goes through degradation, a person’s risk of developing illnesses and diseases such as depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, and PTSD increase significantly–which is why their results are so important.

video game addictionThe impact of the video games can either help the hippocampal area grow or lessen, depending on the type of game and how the person plays it.

There are two types of strategies in video games: spatial or response. It seems that those who use response strategy in a virtual reality maze game (counting, memorizing, and patterning a series of actions to remember certain arrays), as opposed to spatial (learning the relationship between specific landmarks and target goals), were more negatively affected.

In the studies, many participants went through 90 hours of training in one of three types of games:

  • Action video game (ex. Call of Duty, Battlefield)
  • 3D-platform game (ex. Super Mario 64)
  • Action-role playing game (ex. Dead Island)

The study revealed that first-person shooter games like Call of Duty reduce grey matter in the hippocampus when players use response strategies. But after training, the researchers found an increase in grey matter for individuals who used spatial strategies.

Healthy growth was also found in the brain of the control group that trained on 3D-platform games.

Dr. Greg West, leader of the studies, explained what this could mean:

“These results show that video games can be beneficial or detrimental to the hippocampal system depending on the navigation strategy that a person employs and the genre of the game.”

The results suggest that video games can pose a serious risk–or can be helpful in small doses. Overall, this shows that having a video game addiction can be a real threat to brain development in youth.

Equinox treats video game addiction in teen boys

Equinox RTC is a residential treatment center for teen boys, ages 14 – 18. Our students often need help for depression, anxiety, trauma, video game addiction, drug use, and other behavioral or emotional issues.

We strive to help students develop healthy habits and lead themselves back onto a path of success through meaningful therapy and a nurturing environment. At Equinox, teenagers work towards building accountability, respect, and a solution-oriented approach to solving their challenges.

For more information about how we treat video game addiction at Equinox, contact us today at (877) 279-8925