Teens who frequently play video games have more left striatal grey matter volume than peers who play less. In a study published online this week in Translational Psychiatry, researchers based at Ghent University in Belgium looked at 154 healthy 14-year-old adolescents (72 males and 82 females) recruited from secondary schools in Berlin. Researchers classified participants as frequent or infrequent players based on whether they played above or below the median of nine hours a week. Using structural magnetic resonance imaging, the researchers found significantly higher left ventral striatum grey matter for frequent vs. infrequent video gamers. "Our results have implications for the understanding of the structural and functional basis of excessive but nonpathological video-game playing and the role of the ventral striatum in ‘behavioral’ addiction," wrote the researchers.
To read about another recent study that found possible connections between television viewing and video-game exposure and the development of attention problems in children, see Psychiatric News.
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