Brains Change After Violent Video Games

By Chris Fleming –

Playing violent video games might be fun, but a new study indicates it may not be harmless fun, after all.

For years now plenty of different researchers have been trying to analyze the affect of violent video games versus the brain. Finally, the researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis discovered signs through magnetic resonance imaging that the brain is affected, according to a published report in USAToday.

Some gamers who go to Penn Manor have seen similar results.

“Once I start playing a game I can notice that I get angry faster,” said Alex Sorce, senior at Penn Manor,” but I leave my anger at my Xbox once I turn it off.”

According to the study done in Chicago, researches took 22 healthy men ages 18-29 and split them up into groups of 11. One group was assigned to play a violent first person shooter game for 10 hours a day for one week and then not play at all the next week, while the other group was told not to play video games at all for both weeks.

After the first week every one got an MRI brain scan and were told to do specific tasks to see what changes took place. After the first week the group playing video games had less activation in the left inferior frontal lobe while doing emotional tasks and lower activation in the anterior cingulate cortex during counting tests compared to their results previous to video game playing and to the other group which did not play video games at all.

After the second week’s MRI scan took place, the group playing video games results were disturbing.

“The activation returned toward baseline but did not completely normalize. We don’t know how long the effect lasts for those who play longer,” said study co-author Dr. Vincent Mathews.

A well known violent video game, image coutesy of

Yang Wang, a professor in radiology and imaging and lead author of the research done at Indiana University School of Medicine said, “These findings indicate that violent video game play has long-term effect on brain functioning.

“The part of the brain that the group that played video games changed in ” is involved in inhibition and emotional modulation,” said Mathews, “(Other researchers) have shown an increase in aggression after playing violent video games. We suspect our findings may be a physiological explanation for this.”

The Center for Successful Parenting supported this research, they argue that there should be less video games and other certain media that young children have access to that they don’t necessarily need , according to the USAToday story.

Mathews suggests to gamers that they should “be aware that playing violent video games has an effect on the way the brain functions and consider this when you choose how to spend your leisure time.”

According to a few students at Penn Manor, these results don’t match up to how they feel.

“Well of course I get angry sometimes when I play a certain violent video game like if I lose or something, but I doubt that it really affects the rest of my day, or life, according to the long term effects you said it gives us gamers,” said Bob Warfel.

“I’ve been playing street fighter for a long time, I haven’t noticed any changes yet. I do get mad sometimes but it’s over dumb stuff so I feel like it doesn’t really effect me at all because it’s just a game,” said Brian Le.

Many recommended a new study be done again but on a larger scale than just two weeks and with a larger group or people.



2 thoughts on “Brains Change After Violent Video Games”

  1. My mom took my Grand Theft Auto away from me. She told me it was too violent of a game. I don’t know when she will start treating me like the 30 year old adult that I am.

    Sick and Tired

  2. I love violent games. They give me a means of unleashing all of my anger in a healthy, stable manner. They also allow me to unleash all of the frustration that has accumulated over the years at how easy my last name is to tamper with.

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