Is This What Your Brain Looks Like on Video Games?

Video games can grow the human brain?  So says a headline at smartplanet.com.

Let's look into this. "Playing video games could make the grey matter in your brain bigger," writes David Worthington.

When volunteers played Mario 64 on Nintendo’s portable DS system daily for two month, he reports, researchers "observed growth in the bilateral hippocampus and some regions of the right prefrontal cortex." Those parts of the brain are thought to have a role in memory, navigation, processing visual information, and problem solving.

“Video game training augments GM in brain areas crucial for spatial navigation, strategic planning, working memory and motor performance going along with evidence for behavioral changes of navigation strategy,” the study abstract says, as Worthington notes.

He acknowledges that, while playing video games may not make you smart(er), the new study "demonstrates the direct causal link between video gaming and a volumetric brain increase. This proves that specific brain regions can be trained by means of video games," Worthington quotes study leader Simone Kühn, senior scientist at the Center for Lifespan Psychology at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development.

So maybe I should stop beating up on my kid for playing 24/7.  But if it makes him get an "A" on his next algebra test, maybe not.



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