[ExI] video games impact on grey matter

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Mon Aug 14 19:26:49 UTC 2017

On 14 August 2017 at 19:59, Christian Saucier <csaucier at sovacs.com> wrote:
> Thinking is good for the brain!
> The difference between a "first-person shooting game" and "3D-platform
> games" used in this study seem very narrow to me.  I would be interested to
> know the specific games that were used.
> Maybe another way to view this conclusion is simply this: If you use your
> hippocampus, it will grow grey matter; if you do not use your hippocampus,
> it will lose grey matter.  This should apply not only to the playing of
> video games, but to practically any other types of human action.
> This is the summary of that study from nature.com: "The hippocampus is
> critical to healthy cognition, yet results in the current study show that
> action video game players have reduced grey matter within the hippocampus. A
> subsequent randomised longitudinal training experiment demonstrated that
> first-person shooting games reduce grey matter within the hippocampus in
> participants using non-spatial memory strategies. Conversely, participants
> who use hippocampus-dependent spatial strategies showed increased grey
> matter in the hippocampus after training. A control group that trained on
> 3D-platform games displayed growth in either the hippocampus or the
> functionally connected entorhinal cortex. A third study replicated the
> effect of action video game training on grey matter in the hippocampus.
> These results show that video games can be beneficial or detrimental to the
> hippocampal system depending on the navigation strategy that a person
> employs and the genre of the game." --
> http://www.nature.com/mp/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/mp2017155a.html

They have already found this with studies of London taxi drivers that
had to spend 3 or 4 years memorising the London street map and
planning routes.
(Uber and GPS may end this exercise).


This task did increase the size of the hippocampus.
She showed that a driver’s hippocampus is most active when they first
plan a route. She found that the hippocampus shrinks back to a normal
size once drivers retire. And she found that acquiring The Knowledge
comes at a cost – taxi drivers find it more difficult to integrate new
routes into their existing maps, and other aspects of their memory
seemed to suffer.

That might mean that brain improvements in one area could cause worse
performance in other areas.


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