1. ‘Mario’ Is Like Steroids For Your Brain
To better understand how video games affect the brain, German researchers conducted a study, which was released this week. They asked 23 adults with a median age of 25 to play “Super Mario 64” for 30 minutes a day over a period of two months. A separate control group did not play video games at all.
Examining the brains of the two groups using an MRI machine, they found that the gaming group had a rise in gray matter in the right hippocampus, right prefrontal cortex and the cerebellum — areas of the brain responsible for spatial navigation, memory formation, strategic planning and fine motor skills in the hands.
“While previous studies have shown differences in brain structure of video gamers, the present study can demonstrate the direct causal link between video gaming and a volumetric brain increase,” study leader Simone Kühn said. “This proves that specific brain regions can be trained by means of video games.”
Kühn and her colleagues concluded that video games could potentially be used as a therapy for patients with mental disorders that cause brain regions to shrink or be altered. Such diseases include schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder and Alzheimer’s.
2. ‘Starcraft’ May Make You Smarter