People that spend a good part of their life gaming often think that they’re different from those who don’t. And a recent study shows that they’re quite correct in that line of thinking. In fact, their brains are wired quite differently than your average Joe.
In a recent study, around 100 boys from age 10-19 who sought treatment for Internet Gaming Disorder had brain scans performed on them. Then, those scans were compared to around 80 boys in the same age bracket who did not have the disorder. What they found was that the ones who compulsively gamed had different areas of the brain that were hyperconnected. Specifically, the following pairs of brain regions had connections in the former group:
- Auditory cortex (hearing) – motor cortex (movement)
- Auditory cortex (hearing) – supplementary motor cortices (movement)
- Auditory cortex (hearing) – anterior cingulate (salience network)
- Frontal eye field (vision) – anterior cingulate (salience network)
- Frontal eye field (vision) – anterior insula (salience network)
- Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex – temporoparietal junction
According to one of the researchers “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.”
While that does sound like good news, it does come with its drawbacks. The same reasercher also stated that due to the hyperconnectivity of these regions, the people were also more likely to be easily distracted.
This has given the researchers a lot of new information about the way gamers’ brains are wired, but it doesn’t answer one of the big questions. Specifically, did the brains of these people rewire themselves because they played so many games, or were they drawn to games because of the way their brains were wired?