Some new neural research has discovered that there are some similarities in the reward centre of their brain between people who suffer from addiction and frequent game players. I’m hesitant to treat physical addiction on par with menial addictions has the dependencies are radically different, but this new research is bringing to light that frequent game playing itself can alter the composition of the brain.
They found that frequent gamers had greater brain activity when they were given feedback that they were losing. This is similar to a response seen in addicted gamblers, the authors noted, who have increased levels of the the brain chemical dopamine in the ventral striatum when they are losing money.
The authors wrote that their study is the first to correlate changes in brain structures with video gaming. They couldn’t determine if the frequent gamers’ brains grew larger as a result of playing video games or if those kids were attracted to gaming because that part of their brain was enlarged in the first place; scientists will need to measure the effects of video gaming on structures in the brain over time to figure that out.
Read the original paper at Translation Psychiatry, The neural basis of video gaming.