1 March 2023
Psychological Effects of Video Games on the Brain
One area of research that has received significant attention is the psychological effects of video games on the brain. Some studies have suggested that playing video games can lead to increased aggression and reduced empathy, particularly in individuals who are already prone to these traits. However, other studies have found no significant effect.
Video games have been found to have various psychological effects on the brain, including changes in brain function and structure. Some studies suggest that playing video games can improve attention, visual-spatial abilities, decision-making, and working memory (Green & Bavelier, 2012; Li et al., 2019; Boot et al., 2011). These benefits have been associated with an increase in gray matter volume in certain areas of the brain, such as the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and cerebellum (Kühn et al., 2014; West et al., 2015).
On the other hand, excessive video game playing has been associated with negative psychological effects, such as addiction, aggression, and anxiety (Ferguson, 2015; Przybylski et al., 2014). Some studies have suggested that certain types of games, such as violent games, can lead to desensitization to violence and reduced empathy (Greitemeyer & Mügge, 2014; Anderson et al., 2010).
Additionally, some studies have suggested that video games can have an impact on mood and emotions. For example, playing video games has been found to increase positive affect and decrease negative affect (Russoniello et al., 2009). This effect has been attributed to the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward, in response to playing video games (Koepp et al., 1998). However, this effect may vary depending on the type of game and the individual playing it.
Overall, while video games have the potential to have positive effects on the brain and psychological well-being, it is important to consider the potential negative effects as well. More research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms behind these effects and how they may differ depending on the individual and the type of game being played.