Saturday, December 03, 2011

Change your mind . . .

SCIENCE DAILY has a fascinating report, worthy of your attention: "Violent Video Games Alter Brain Function in Young Men". What has been suspected, has been proven. 

Sustained changes in the region of the brain associated with cognitive function and emotional control were found in young adult men after one week of playing violent video games, according to study results presented by Indiana University School of Medicine researchers at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.
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The controversy over whether or not violent video games are potentially harmful to players has been debated for many years, even making it as far as the Supreme Court in 2010. There has been little scientific evidence demonstrating that the games have a prolonged negative neurological effect.

"For the first time, we have found that a sample of randomly assigned young adults showed less activation in certain frontal brain regions following a week of playing violent video games at home," said Yang Wang, M.D., assistant research professor in the IU Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences. "The affected brain regions are important for controlling emotion and aggressive behavior."

Aw, Return to Castle Wolfenstein is such an adrenaline rush, but you have to wonder if the genre can result in psychopathic yard-apes. It would be very interesting to see the same test run on females, to see if there are similar changes to the wiring.

Now, can non-violent computer games also change the wiring? Maybe there might be positive things out of positive software. For example, there is an old DOS game called Blockout. Simple, it's 3-D Tetris: roll, pitch and yaw. The game is available in the DOS original (see the Wiki site), and on the web at 3Dtris. The on-line version is very good, but unlike the original, doesn't have a demo mode, which can be useful for instruction, for newbies.

What's it good for? You wouldn't believe how you can pack a moving van. Promotes what is called "situational awareness", which is all kinds of useful. Should be used by our schools.

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