Damn those scientists, especially those Canadian ones. A study released today has found that players of action video games (defined in the study as first or third person shooters), tended to rely on habit (response learning) when playing.
The problem is, that type of learning has been shown to be related to decreased grey matter in the hippocampus area of the brain. Why is that an issue? Well, decreased grey matter in that area is linked to a higher incidence of neurological and psychiatric disorders.
Here’s the research abstract:
When navigating, distinct strategies rely on either the hippocampus or the striatum. We investigated whether action-video game playing is also associated with increased use of response learning strategies during navigation. We found that actionVGPs had a significantly higher likelihood of using a response learning strategy (80.76%) compared to nonVGPs (42.42%). Using response strategies is associated with decreased grey matter in the hippocampus. Previous studies have shown that decreased volume in the hippocampus is associated with neurological and psychiatric disorders. If actionVGPs have lower grey matter in the hippocampus, these individuals could be at increased risk of developing neurological disorders.
So all you FPS’ers out there, maybe it’s time to broaden your gaming horizons?