A new research study is doing the rounds suggesting some things that won't be news at all to anybody who played a videogame between the age of 5 and 15. In a group of 200 adolescent boys, it was discovered that those who regularly played videogames had hyperconnectivity between specific areas of the brain. The benefits include increased reactivity to new information and processing new factors in their environment. It also came with some downsides.
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The study comes from a collaboration between the University of Utah School of Medicine and Chung-Ang University in South Korea. A researcher, Jeffrey Anderson, summed up what it could all mean:
"Hyperconnectivity between these brain networks could lead to a more robust ability to direct attention toward targets, and to recognize novel information in the environment. The changes could essentially help someone to think more efficiently."
However, on the downside, another pair of brain centers it links are often seen in those with various disabilities, poor impulse control or other problems. Basically, we can get distracted more eas-*glances at second monitor arrayed with Twitter, news feeds and analytics information*-ily. I, er, can attest that's been a consistent problem since games became part of what I do every single day.
It also hasn't been confirmed if games are causing this brain linkage or if having those connections already simply makes us more attracted to games. While I'd never speak in absolutes, all of the above is familiar not only in myself but in large groups of friends with similar interests. There are always outliars, of course, but my incidental observations certainly support it.
The question becomes: where the hell did they find a group of 200 young boys, a significant portion of which don't play videogames? The mind boggles.