It seems that parental controls – or more extreme measures – may be a responsible feature for video games. A study at Ghent University in Belgium suggests that young gamers may have brain profiles similar to those of gamblers.
The study involved monitoring the brain activity of 154 teenagers (each of whom reported playing at least 12 hours of games a week). The more a subject played games in their lifestyle, the bigger their brain’s “reward center” proved, resulting in greater release of the feel-good chemical – dopamine – even when losing (hence the comparison to gambling addicts).
Scientific scrutiny raises the eternal doubt over cause and effect. The Telegraph reports:
It was not clear from the experiment whether gaming causes the increase brain size or whether the teenagers’ brains predisposed them to play a lot of video games.
The researchers themselves supported the latter possibility as more likely. Your love for gaming may be hard-wired in your brain. Don’t worry too much: so may your personality, predispositions, character, and ambitions… not that I’m trying to scare you.