Friday, April 21, 2006

This is your Brain on Games

So, I’m a big proponent of Games for Learning, but I also enjoy putting my self on the flip side of my passions just for a reality check.  Cognitive Daily has this article This is Your Brain…On violent video games.  Okay, I’ll bite.  Here’s the best part…

“Weber's team points out that it's possible to have the same brain activity, but still be conscious of the fact that a video game is not real behavior. It's not necessarily true that die-hard video gamers are rewiring their brains to behave aggressively in the real world. However, what can be said is that the fear and fight responses are strikingly similar to those found in real-world aggressive and antisocial individuals. We know from other studies that the rewards system of video games is highly effective, and while this experiment does not prove the case that violent games cause aggressive behavior, it's certainly another piece of evidence which supports that contention. The team also points out that the levels of brain activity they have observed here are much more intense than what is observed in other experiments, such as biofeedback. There's no doubt that these games have a powerful influence on the brain.”

Wait…let’s say that last line again… There's no doubt that these games have a powerful influence on the brain.”

I’d like to just start with that from now on in my gaming discussions, because it seems to be the only common ground for both sides of the debate.  Maybe if we all start here, THEN we can start to ask ourselves what are the positive aspects gained from these and other games.  I’m sorry for being such an optimist, but if there is ANY tool out there that has “a powerful influence on the brain”, positive OR negative, shouldn’t we at least look at it?

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