Action videogames change brains: study
A team led by psychology professor Ian Spence at the University of Toronto reveals that playing an action videogame, even for a relatively short time, causes differences in brain activity and improvements in visual attention.
Previous studies have found differences in brain activity between action videogame players and non-players, but these could have been attributed to pre-existing differences in the brains of those predisposed to playing videogames and those who avoid them. This is the first time research has attributed these differences directly to playing video games.
Twenty-five subjects who had not previously played videogames played a game for a total of 10 hours in one to two hour sessions. Sixteen of the subjects played a first-person shooter game and, as a control, nine subjects played a three-dimensional puzzle game.
Before and after playing the games, the subjects' brain waves were recorded while they tried to detect a target object among other distractions over a wide visual field. Subjects who played the shooter videogame and also showed the greatest improvement on the visual attention task showed significant changes in their brain waves. The remaining subjects including those who had played the puzzle game did not.
"After playing the shooter game, the changes in electrical activity were consistent with brain processes that enhance visual attention and suppress distracting information," said Sijing Wu, a PhD student in Spence's lab in U of T's Department of Psychology and lead author of the study.
"Studies in different labs, including here at the University of Toronto, have shown that action videogames can improve selective visual attention, such as the ability to quickly detect and identify a target in a cluttered background," said Spence. "But nobody has previously demonstrated that there are differences in brain activity which are a direct result of playing the videogame."
"Superior visual attention is crucial in many important everyday activities," added Spence. "It's necessary for things such as driving a car, monitoring changes on a computer display, or even avoiding tripping while walking through a room with children's toys scattered on the floor."
The research was supported by funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada in the form of Discovery Grants to Spence and co-author Claude Alain of the Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest Centre and U of T's Psychology Department.
The research team also included U of T PhD candidate Cho Kin Cheng, Jing Feng, a postdoc at the Rotman Research Institute, and former undergraduate student Lisa D'Angelo.
More information: The study will appear in the June 2012 issue of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, published by MIT Press. Early access to uncorrected proofs of the article is available now at: www.mitpressjourna… jocn_a_00192
Journal reference: Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
Provided by University of Toronto
- Playing video games reduces sex differences in spatial skills Sep 28, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Video games shown to improve vision Mar 15, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Action video games improve vision Mar 29, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Action video game players experience diminished proactive attention Oct 13, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- How video games stretch the limits of our visual attention Nov 18, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Why is zone 1 in liver more prone to ischemic injury?
3 hours ago Hi, Is it because around central vein, there is only deoxygenated blood from the vein where as in the periphery there is hepatic artery. Also why...
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
May 22, 2013 As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
(HealthDay)—Migraines and depression can each cause a great deal of suffering, but new research indicates the combination of the two may be linked to something else entirely—a smaller brain.
Neuroscience 15 hours ago | 4.3 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Moving objects attract greater attention – a fact exploited by video screens in public spaces and animated advertising banners on the Internet. For most animal species, moving objects also play a major ...
Neuroscience 17 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
It is known that signs of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's disease can appear years before the disease becomes manifest; these signs take the form of subtle changes in the brain and behavior of ...
Neuroscience 17 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Scientists have reversed behavioral and brain abnormalities in adult mice that resemble some features of schizophrenia by restoring normal expression to a suspect gene that is over-expressed in humans with ...
Neuroscience 19 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have unraveled the molecular foundations of cocaine's effects on the brain, and identified a compound that blocks cravings for the drug in cocaine-addicted mice. The compound, already proven safe ...
Neuroscience 19 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
US teen births have dropped to a record low, but the country still has one of the highest rates among developed nations, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
Swiss scientists reveal the mechanism responsible for aging hidden deep within mitochondria—and dramatically slow it down in worms by administering antibiotics to the young.
18 hours ago | 4.9 / 5 (9) | 1 |
Researchers from Queen Mary, University of London have led the largest sequencing study of human disease to date, investigating the genetic basis of six autoimmune diseases.
18 hours ago | 4.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
Until now, little was scientifically known about the human potential to cultivate compassion—the emotional state of caring for people who are suffering in a way that motivates altruistic behavior.
15 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 2 |
Existing research shows that bicyclists who wear helmets have an 88 percent lower risk of brain injury, but researchers at Boston Children's Hospital found that simply having bicycle helmet laws in place showed a 20 percent ...
7 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A new approach for immunizing against influenza elicited a more potent immune response and broader protection than the currently licensed seasonal influenza vaccines when tested in mice and ferrets. The vaccine ...
15 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |