Video game link to psychiatric disorders study

People who regularly play action video games could be at increased risk of developing neurological and psychiatric disorders, a study suggests.


The research, published in a magazine on Wednesday, found that people who played games were more likely to employ navigational strategies associated with decreased grey matter in the hippocampus part of the brain.

The lead study author, Prof Greg West, from the University of Montreal’s department of psychology, said that benefits of video games, such as improved attention and perception, highlighted in previous studies, could come at a price.

“People are suggesting these games are good and we’re saying `Hey, wait, there might be a serious risk with them.’ I don’t want to be alarmist. The message is enjoy video games, enjoy them in moderation but don’t expect them to improve some sort of cognitive ability,” said west.

The results showed that 80.76% of action video game players spontaneously used a response strategy, compared with 42.42% of non-players.

West said more research was needed to investigate the direct impact of different genres of video games on the hippocampus and striatum and how much time one could spend playing video games before potentially negative effects kicked in.