Are there any rational grains in video game claims? Let’s try to understand. This is a translation of an article in the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph on the impact of video games on people.

All of these expressions used by opponents of video games are so mundane and so common that they may well be considered clichés or stereotypes. But how many of them really have a scientific basis? A recent study suggests that at least some of these fears may well be justified. The results of a new scientific study by scientists from the University of Montreal show that too active play on shooters can cause damage to the hippocampus, which will eventually lead to the loss of brain cells.

The study believes that in this way the brains of young people may weaken and put them at risk for dementia at a later age. However, do not rush to compile your XBOX and put it on Ebay, because the scientists themselves warn us against hasty conclusions based on only one of their studies, because the sample of people who participated in the experiment was too small. So how do you know who to trust? A huge number of studies conducted by different people provide very contradictory data on the impact of video games on our health, both physical and mental. In this regard, it is quite difficult to understand how good or bad the games affect us.

Below is a list of the most important scientific papers and reports so that you can weigh all the pros and cons:

FOR: Thanks to video games, your brain grows

In 2013, psychologist Simone Kuhn studied the long-term effects of video games on young people’s brains and found that some areas of gray matter had expanded significantly. Kuhn watched her patients while they played Mario 64 for 30 minutes a day for two months. After undergoing an MRI and comparing their results with the initial indicators, the psychologist found that the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum in people who participated in the experiment, grew.

It is known that the prefrontal cortex is involved in higher cognitive functions, such as strategic planning, as well as cognitive control – says Kuhn. The hippocampus is involved in the formation of memory – continues the psychologist – and the right hippocampus is particularly deeply involved in spatial navigation, more precisely, in how to help us navigate.

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AGAINST Video games make us cruel

  • Mark Appelbaum, a doctor at the American Psychological Association (APA), concluded that numerous studies have shown a consistent link between violent popular multiplayer games and the growth of aggressive behavior.
  • The APA report also mentioned aggressive states, decreased prosocial behavior, empathy, and sensitivity to aggression.
  • All of these findings were based on more than 300 different studies on video games that were published between 2005 and 2013, and included thousands of statistics from various tests and surveys.
  • “Even though there are some differences between the individual studies, many years of research have resulted in a clear and consistent overall model that provides confidence in our overall conclusions,”

FOR Video games increase our self-awareness and also make us happier

Bernie Hood is a cyberpsychologist who provides individual counseling and psychological services for gamers. She studied and compared research from around the world, trying to assess the impact of computer games on our well-being. “We have studied various branches of positive psychology, especially the branch called eudemony – the theory or art of happiness.

One of the main areas of research that has been widely studied in this area has been the theory of self-determination theory (SDT), through which gamers can meet their fundamental psychological needs through games. I have found that SDT has three key needs that are related to motivation and a sense of well-being.

First, a person’s need to feel important is something that helps to master the gameplay and pass the levels so well. Secondly, we have a need for simple communication with other people.

Research tells us that players feel rewarded by sharing their experiences with others on social media and many user environments. Finally, within the SDT model, there is a need for human autonomy. The idea that we must be masters of our own destiny. In games, this need is obviously solved very well, when choosing the paths or maps that we choose in the game, or with our characters

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AGAINST Video games make you less empathetic

Earlier this year, another US study found that young people who play violent best io games, such as Grand Theft Auto, tend to have less empathy for girls than those who play better games. After playing Grand Theft Auto, in which girls are presented only as objects of a sexual nature, a huge number of young people of the younger generation expressed a much lower level of sympathy and sympathy when they were shown photos of victims of domestic violence.

A small spoiler from the translator

Most people, just looking at such photos, would say that the girl is horrified. However, young people who identified with the characters in the sexist brutal video games. Did not particularly empathize with the victim, said Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University.

Bushman believes the degree to which teens identified with the protagonist of violent and sexist video games.  Was the most disturbing part of the study’s opening. If you watch a movie with a sexist character.  You have a certain distance with him, says a professor from Ohio. But in the video game you are connect to your character on a physical level. You control his actions. And this, in turn, can affect your thoughts, feelings and behavior in general. For at least a short period of time.

FOR Video games improve eyesight

  • In 2012, researchers at McMaster University in Canada found that video games can significantly improve vision in people with visual impairments.
  • The study involved six adults aged 19 to 31 who were born with cataracts in both eyes. Even though most of the subjects’ problems were solve with surgery.  And special contact lenses in early childhood, they still had some difficulty reading small print.  Tracking moving objects, and identifying faces.
  • However, after patients played first-person shooters for forty hours a month. Their eyesight improved so much that they were able to read. One or two steps lower than before on the standard vision map. In addition, patients showed better results in determining direction, responding to flashes, and recognizing faces.

FOR Video games can improve attention

“In fact, action games have many other benefits in terms of attention,” Bavelier continues . And another aspect that is also improving is the ability to track objects around us.”

This is what we use all the time: when you are driving, you are watching the movement of cars around. You also keep track of pedestrians running a dog, because safe traffic means all of that, right? So in a sense, when we think about the effects of video games on the brain. It’s very similar to the effects of wine on health. There is very poor use of wine, and there is very poor use of video games.

But when consumed in reasonable doses and at the right age, wine can be quite healthy. Similarly, these action games have a number of really powerful components . That give plasticity to the brain, have a positive effect on learning, attention, vision, etc. That’s why we’re working to understand what these active ingredients are. And then actually use them to create better games that are suitable for both education and

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