Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Violent Video Games Change the Brain

I’ve been following the research on violent video game playing for decades. The news isn’t usually good and gamers become highly defensive whenever I post on this topic. So here we go again!

Consider this research as you choose your holiday presents. It confirms a finding we have known for years.

The study was presented at the annual Radiological Society of North America. It involved a small group of men, ages 18-29 years, who did NOT play violent video games. The researchers divided the group into two. They had one group play violent video games for 10 hours over the course of a week, and the other group did not play video games at all. Then both groups were tested with words of aggression while undergoing a functional MRI. The MRIs allowed researchers to actually see what changes occurred in the brain.


The finding: Playing violent video games desensitized the men to violence. This is a finding noted several times in other studies as well. The changes occurred in the area of the brain responsible for controlling emotions and aggressive behavior.

However, after a week of not playing the games, the brain changes returned to baseline levels. And the study did not prove whether it was the violence or playing the game that create brain changes.

With the number of violent video games that continue to be developed and marketed to our teens and young adults, we now have physical evidence that supports the idea that playing these games may make a person less sensitive to violence.


Is this something we want to continue to promote in our society?



  • Best new video games

    I got the information about the violent video games. Its a useful best new video games for controlling emotions and also it will impact of the brain.

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    The post of Violent Video Games are very interested to me.From that i got the information about how the brain will changes due to playing of this game.

  • Linda Mintle

    A lot of great questions but I didn’t buy the violent games and found alternatives that were fun and exciting to play. We always limited playing time to one hour and then he had to get up and do other things or even read! It was all about a larger strategy in our family of stressing balance in all things. And rather than saying NO, teens can listen to conversations about why these games are problematic so we had many conversations about the impact of many things on the brain (e.g., sodas, nutrition, etc.).

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment judith helman

    I understand what you’re saying. What I can’t figure out is — beyond saying this, how do you balance a teen-age boy’s connection to games and violence with the downsides of what he considers a great time? How much is too much? How much is OK? When? With others?

    What does gaming (violent or not) do to the still developing brain, which, in, say, a 13 year old, is reinforcing the neural pathways most used and decommissioning the rest?

    For best brain development (especially higher order thinking, planning, empathy) what do you do about violet films, video/computer games, etc., which are exciting and, perhaps, addictive?

    Just say, “No,” is as useless in this regard as it is to sex education. On the other hand, limitations, pre-requisites, self-control & self-respect, etc., are of great use in this as in all things.

    What have other people chosen to do with their teens, why, how has it worked, and what research do you turn to?


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