Thursday, June 20, 2024

The Video Games Myth

Myth: Playing video games may lead to a negative impact on the brain and cognition.

Truth: This can be true or false.

The hippocampus is the part of the brain that helps individuals orient themselves and remember past experiences. The striatum is the part of the brain that counterbalances the hippocampus. Within the striatum lies the caudate nucleus, which acts as an autopilot or reward system. The caudate nucleus helps individuals get home from work “on autopilot”, determine when it is time to eat, and do activities that keep us alive and happy.

In a recent study published in Molecular Psychiatry, researchers found that playing different types of video games had different effects on the hippocampus and the caudate nucleus.

Specifically, they found evidence that shooter games may cause atrophy in the hippocampus. However, 3D-platform games had the opposite effect by increasing the amount of grey matter in the brain. The study found that video games can be either beneficial or detrimental to the hippocampal system depending on the navigational strategy the individual uses. Read more about this study here.

Reference

  1. Columbus C. Video games may affect the brain differently, depending on what you play. NPR. Published August 9, 2017. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/08/09/542215646/video-games-may-affect-the-brain-differently-depending-on-what-you-play.
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