Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Video game addiction, and taking play seriously.

Video games trigger reward and addiction centers of the brain, just like cocaine. Hoeft et. al. at Stanford have compared the activation of these centers in men's and women's brains as they played video games and found them to be more active in male than in female participants. Males showed greater activation and functional connectivity compared to females in the mesocorticolimbic system. The more the men won, the stronger their brain activity. Women's responses were less intense and didn't correlate with winning. This may have something to do with why men seem to become addicted to video games much more easily than women.

There is an interesting and more general article by Robin Henig on play in animals and humans in the New York Times Magazine. The general consensus is that play activity is very important in the development of social intelligence and the ability to respond to rapidly changing situations. It turns out that the rise and decay of play activity in animals corresponds closely to the development curve of the cerebellum, which is important in skilled movements. In one interesting study, experimenters:

...raised 12 female rats from the time they were weaned until puberty under one of two conditions. In the control group, each rat was caged with three other female juveniles. In the experimental group, each rat was caged with three female adults. Pellis knew from previous studies that the rats caged with adults would not play, since adult rats rarely play with juveniles, even their own offspring. They would get all the other normal social experiences the control rats had — grooming, nuzzling, touching, sniffing — but they would not get play... (in) the rats raised in a play-deprived environment, they found a more immature pattern of neuronal connections in the medial prefrontal cortex... less selective pruning of cells and a more tangled, immature medial prefrontal cortex in play-deprived rats might mean that the rat will be less able to make subtle adjustments to the social world.
There are numerous theories about the function of play. It doesn't seem unreasonable that that the fragmentary, disorderly, unpredictable, exaggerated, improvised, vertiginous, and nonsensical nature of play trains the brain allows for a wider behavioral repertory and perhaps more competence in responding to novel or unforeseen situations.

3 comments:

siva said...

I don't think playing a video game is not addiction.I don't agree with you.Bur remember don't waste time by playing long time.
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siva

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ASHLEE said...

Though video game addiction is not included as a diagnosis in either the DSM or the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, it is suggested that the symptoms of a video game addiction would be similar to that of other psychological addictions.Like compulsive gambling, video game addiction is said to be an impulse control disorder.In 2007, the American Psychological Association reviewed video game addiction to be added in the new DSM to be released in 2012.
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Ashleejames


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M Zaib said...

According to recent research by Ofcom, 37% of adults and 60% of teens admit to being ‘highly addicted’ to their smartphones, with users checking their smartphones on average, 34 times a day. Additionally, 51% of adults and 65% of teens use their smartphones while socializing with others, and 22% and 47% respectively, confess to answering their smartphones even while on the toilet.

So the International 'Moodoff Day’ is encouraging people around the world to avoid using smartphones for a few hours on February 26. The organization is urging adults and teenagers to spend from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. that day without using their smartphone. This events will celebrate each year on last Sunday of February.

if you feel you could benefit from a morning without smartphones and mobile devices and want to encourage others to follow suit, go to www.MoodOffDay.org and pledge your support. You can even post your personal experiences of smartphone addiction or upload funny images showing smartphone addicts in action at www.facebook.com/MoodOffDay .

Moodoff Day is aiming to raise awareness of smart phone addiction and to minimise the impact on relationships, work/life balance, reduce risk of injury in traffic and improve quality of life.

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