A new study has found that teenagers who spend a lot of time playing video games had a higher volume of gray matter in a key part of their brains. Scientists were unable to tell if games changed the brain or if brain differences made people more likely to play.
Scientists compared the brain scans of 14-year old German children who were frequent gamers to those who played the games less often. They found key differences in an area of the brain known as the ventral striatum. This region considered to be the key to motivation and reward had more gray matter in kids who played video games 9-hours or more a week compared to those who spent less time gaming. There was evidence of more brain activity in this region when they completed a gambling task designed to simulate winning a video game. This region is usually activated when people anticipate positive environmental effects or experience pleasure such as winning money, good food or sex.
The study is published in the Translational Psychiatry journal.