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Shooter Video Games Aren’t Good for Your Mental Health, Play Super Mario: Researchers

Video games based study was recently conducted at Department of psychology and psychiatry at University of Montreal and McGill University, Canada, the researchers studied critical phenomena between modern day shooter and quest based gaming. According to them, the human brain has major components called hippocampus, which is critical to healthy cognition and corresponds with the gray matter level in the brain.

Shooting video games, specifically First person shooter or war based games, require sudden reaction times that reduce the gray matter level in the brain causing unusual behavior, poor stress management, anxiety and certain cases sensitivity to the environment.

Conversely participants who ever tested with 3D platform games from the Super Mario Series improves the level of grey matter in the brain. Technically known as induction to structural brain plasticity.

Lower gray matter in the hippocampus has a risk factor, it may cause psychological diseases with subtlety including schizophrenia, PTSD, Stress.

After studying the subjects with over a long period of exposure they came to the conclusion that the balance of both types of games is important for the healthy development of the brain and its functions. Frequent and long exposure to a particular type of game, especially an action based shooter game will gradually cause a decay in the grey matter of the hippocampus.

The sample size consisted of 30 plus people with no history of chronic medical symptoms played 6+ hours of each game per week and then MRI scan was taken to see the brain functional activity and gray matter was reduced in action video game players compared to the known action video game players.

The test was done in-lab, on a series of commercially available video games for a total of 90 hours. However, they also concluded that more study is required to understand the ‘long term’ impacts of this reduction on the mental health of gamers.

Source: Nature