Video games can be as beneficial as harmful to the human brain. And, although there is scientific literature about the favorable impact they have on short-term memory and visual attention little is known about their brand in other areas of the brain.
Action games, such as the popular Call of Duty, can reduce the amount of gray matter lodged in the hippocampus, one of the largest areas of the human brain, and thus promote disease such as depression, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder And Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the study The impact of video games on hippocampal plasticity, players who usually play first-person shooter titles more often stimulate the “caudate nucleus”, a region of the brain responsible for regulating routine activities that habitually you get a reward, like eating, drinking or having sex. However, further stimulation of this area decreases the use of the cerebral hippocampus, in charge of functions such as spatial and episodic memory, which leads to the loss of gray matter in the area.
“If action video games tend to diminish gray matter in a young adult’s hypothalamus, it should be noted when recommending its use among children, young adults or adults seeking to improve cognitive abilities such as short-term memory and visual attention “Concludes the study. “Because the results say these improvements come at a cost.”
For their conclusions, the researchers tested 90 hours of gameplay on two groups of players, one with games like Call of Duty, Kill zone and Borderlands 2, and another with 3D games from Super Mario Bros. When comparing the brain activity of each Group, found that the group in contact with action games had reduced the amount of gray matter in the hippocampus, while the other had improved stimulation of the area.
The study also advises developers of action games to modify their design. “Because spatial strategies have been associated with increases in the gray matter of the hippocampus when playing video games, it is possible to get players to use such strategies to counteract the negative effects on the hippocampus.”