Remember when they tried to ban Grand Theft Auto 3 because of the use of prostitues? This and a few other video games have received negative reviews because of the possible influence on people. Do you think video games play a role on how we act? Check out the study on how video games affect the brain after the jump.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Itâ€™s Newtonâ€™s third law of motion and undoubtedly one taken into account by meticulous game designers dedicated to creating an onscreen experience undetectably different than the real world.
That physics principle extends into another realm of science and equally applies to the biological effects of gaming. However inflexible the views of those who are pro-gaming or anti-gaming, one thing is certain: the brain itself is mutable and highly subject to influence. Jonah Lehrer, author of Proust Was a Neuroscientist and How We Decide told PCMag, â€œEverything changes the brainâ€”and gaming is not an exception to that ruleâ€”we just don’t know how. Yet.â€
Studies that conclude that gaming results in negative behaviorâ€” violence, aggression or decreased attention spansâ€”are balanced by reports that find gaming can have a positive influence, alleviating the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder or improving attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. One of the first games to use graphical display, Tennis for Two, contained these multitudes. Introduced in 1958, it was a Pong-like creation of nuclear scientist William Higinbotham meant to both entertain and spark scientific interest in Brookhaven National Laboratory visitors.
Akio Mori, a cranial nerve specialist at Nihon University College of Humanities and Sciences in Tokyo, caused a stir when he coined the term â€œgame brain,â€ a lack of emotion and creativity resulting from gaming, in a 2002 book called The Terror of Game Brain. Moriâ€™s peers criticized the bookâ€™s shoddy science for unreliable measures and a lack of focus. Though the book was a big seller, particularly with the parents of gamers, it was nominated for the Japan Outrageous Book Award. A slew of studies have followed and come down on both sides of the issue.
On the 50th anniversary of possibly the first online game, Spacewar!, which took to ARPAnet from MIT in 1961, PCMag takes a look at the flip sides of the current research into gaming and the brain. Whatever camp you fall into, gaming proponent or not, there is no denying what Whole Earth Catalog founder and Spacewar! enthusiast Stewart Brand said in a 1972 Rolling Stone story on the game. In this era â€œ[w]e are all Computer Bums, all more empowered as individuals and as co-operators. That might enhance thingsâ€¦like the richness and rigor of spontaneous creation and of human interactionâ€¦ of sentient interaction.â€
Put down the controller to discover the ways your brain may be affected by gaming.