A recent study by the University of Indiana Medical School found that youth who spend hours playing violent video games have less activity in the frontal lobes of their brains than other youth. The study, which was presented at the 88th Scientific Sessions and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, was conducted on 19 youth diagnosed with disruptive behavior disorder (DBD) compared to the same number of normal teens.
Using a functional magnetic resonance scanner, researchers measured the amount of blood flow within the frontal part of the brain—the part controlling emotions, impulses and attention span. When shown a violent video game and a movie featuring violence, all the youth had diminished activity in this portion of their brains. Those with DBD were affected more.
Though reluctant to make a blanket statement regarding danger in playing violent videos, Dr. Vincent P. Mathews, author of the study, did say, “I think this information gives credence to what has become a growing concern about what is perceived as increased violence among adolescents.” Video games featuring violence are the fastest growing segment of the video game market. (“Brain Cells Victims of Video Violence ,” Peggy Peck, UPI Science News, Dec. 2, 2002).