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Monday, May 24, 2010

New Research: Video Games and Aggression

Players of violent video games have significantly higher feelings of aggression and differences in brain activity during both cognitive motor activity and resting periods, according to research results to be presented by at the American Psychiatric Association’s Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

There has been increased interest in the influence violent video games on the behavior of players and recent research shows an increase in aggression due to the intensive use of first person shooter games (FPSG) but little is known about the influence of the games on the brain activity.

Researchers led by Gregor R Szycik, Ph.D., with Hannover Medical School in Hannover, Germany, investigated intensive use of first person shooter games on the brain function of young male adults, particularly looking at both the possible impact of such games on morphological and functional structure of the brain and its relation to processing cognitive tasks. Subjects had to complete questionnaires and underwent fMRI scanning while they relaxed.

The research poster (#NR3-12) was presented May 24 at the APA Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

The groups differed in the aggression scores, with the FPSG players showing significantly higher levels of felt aggression. The research also showed differences in brain activity during cognitive and motor resting periods between the FPSG users and the control group. “This frontal increase in DMN may indicate executive dysfunctions of FPSG users having influence on the high scores in the aggression questionnaire,” the researchers concluded.

In addition to Szycik other member of the research team included Bahram Mohammadi, M.D., Thomas F. Münte, M.D., Amir Samii, M.D., Wolfgang Dillo, M.D., and Bert T te Wildt, M.D.

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