Keen video-gamers’ brains may reward them more | Reuters
Reuters – Teenagers who spend a lot of time on video-games have different structures and activity levels in areas of the brain that are linked to reward, scientists have found, suggesting they get more out of gaming than people who tend to play less.
In a study published in the Translational Psychiatry journal on Tuesday, researchers analysed MRI scans of more than 150 14-year-olds who played video-games either moderately or a lot, and found the frequent gamers had a higher volume of grey matter in a key part of their brains.
Previous studies have shown a link between the dopamine-related ventral striatum, a structure of the brain’s reward system, and video-gaming or computer gambling, but this is the first to look at brain structure and volume.
“These findings demonstrate that the ventral striatum plays a significant role in excessive video-game playing and contributes to our understanding of behavioural addiction,” Simone Kuehn of Belgium’s Ghent University and Juergen Gallinat of Germany‘s Charite University Medicine wrote in their study.
Video-gaming has become hugely popular in recent years, particularly among teenagers. The average weekly usage in this experiment was around 12 hours a week.
There is an ongoing debate among doctors and researchers about whether excessive video-gaming should be recognised as an addiction and seen as a form of mental disorder.
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