Decreased prefrontal activity during a cognitive inhibition task following violent video game play: A multi-week randomized trial

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

There is substantial evidence that exposure to violent media increases aggressive thoughts and behaviors, potentially due in part to alterations to inhibitory mechanisms mediated by prefrontal cortex. Past research has demonstrated that playing a violent video game for short periods decreases subsequent prefrontal activity during inhibition, yet the impact of long-term game play is unclear. To assess how extensive video game play impacts brain activity, young adult males (n = 49; ages 18-29) with limited video game experience performed a go/no-go task during fMRI for 3 consecutive weeks. Following a baseline scan, these men were randomly assigned to extensively play a violent video game (VG) or avoid all video game play (control) during the subsequent week. After 1 week, inhibition-related activity decreased in right inferior frontal gyrus and right cerebellum in the VG group, compared to the control sample, and self-reported executive functioning problems were higher. VG participants assigned to a second week of game play had similarly reduced bilateral prefrontal activity during inhibition, relative to the control group. However, VG participants assigned to avoid game play or play a cognitive training game during the second week demonstrated similar overall changes from baseline as the control group. This research provides preliminary evidence indicating how long-term video game play may impact brain function during inhibition, which may impair control of aggressive behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-75
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology of Popular Media Culture
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Fingerprint

Video Games
computer game
Brain
Prefrontal Cortex
brain
Inhibition (Psychology)
Control Groups
Behavior Control
Group
aggressive behavior
Research
Cerebellum
evidence
young adult
Young Adult
Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Keywords

  • Cognitive control
  • FMRI
  • Media violence
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Video game

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Applied Psychology

Cite this

@article{a5d877086fe74ebbb818693071a9207b,
title = "Decreased prefrontal activity during a cognitive inhibition task following violent video game play: A multi-week randomized trial",
abstract = "There is substantial evidence that exposure to violent media increases aggressive thoughts and behaviors, potentially due in part to alterations to inhibitory mechanisms mediated by prefrontal cortex. Past research has demonstrated that playing a violent video game for short periods decreases subsequent prefrontal activity during inhibition, yet the impact of long-term game play is unclear. To assess how extensive video game play impacts brain activity, young adult males (n = 49; ages 18-29) with limited video game experience performed a go/no-go task during fMRI for 3 consecutive weeks. Following a baseline scan, these men were randomly assigned to extensively play a violent video game (VG) or avoid all video game play (control) during the subsequent week. After 1 week, inhibition-related activity decreased in right inferior frontal gyrus and right cerebellum in the VG group, compared to the control sample, and self-reported executive functioning problems were higher. VG participants assigned to a second week of game play had similarly reduced bilateral prefrontal activity during inhibition, relative to the control group. However, VG participants assigned to avoid game play or play a cognitive training game during the second week demonstrated similar overall changes from baseline as the control group. This research provides preliminary evidence indicating how long-term video game play may impact brain function during inhibition, which may impair control of aggressive behavior.",
keywords = "Cognitive control, FMRI, Media violence, Prefrontal cortex, Video game",
author = "Hummer, {Tom A.} and William Kronenberger and Yang Wang and Vincent Mathews",
year = "2019",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1037/ppm0000141",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "8",
pages = "63--75",
journal = "Psychology of Popular Media Culture",
issn = "2160-4134",
publisher = "American Psychological Association Inc.",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Decreased prefrontal activity during a cognitive inhibition task following violent video game play

T2 - A multi-week randomized trial

AU - Hummer, Tom A.

AU - Kronenberger, William

AU - Wang, Yang

AU - Mathews, Vincent

PY - 2019/1/1

Y1 - 2019/1/1

N2 - There is substantial evidence that exposure to violent media increases aggressive thoughts and behaviors, potentially due in part to alterations to inhibitory mechanisms mediated by prefrontal cortex. Past research has demonstrated that playing a violent video game for short periods decreases subsequent prefrontal activity during inhibition, yet the impact of long-term game play is unclear. To assess how extensive video game play impacts brain activity, young adult males (n = 49; ages 18-29) with limited video game experience performed a go/no-go task during fMRI for 3 consecutive weeks. Following a baseline scan, these men were randomly assigned to extensively play a violent video game (VG) or avoid all video game play (control) during the subsequent week. After 1 week, inhibition-related activity decreased in right inferior frontal gyrus and right cerebellum in the VG group, compared to the control sample, and self-reported executive functioning problems were higher. VG participants assigned to a second week of game play had similarly reduced bilateral prefrontal activity during inhibition, relative to the control group. However, VG participants assigned to avoid game play or play a cognitive training game during the second week demonstrated similar overall changes from baseline as the control group. This research provides preliminary evidence indicating how long-term video game play may impact brain function during inhibition, which may impair control of aggressive behavior.

AB - There is substantial evidence that exposure to violent media increases aggressive thoughts and behaviors, potentially due in part to alterations to inhibitory mechanisms mediated by prefrontal cortex. Past research has demonstrated that playing a violent video game for short periods decreases subsequent prefrontal activity during inhibition, yet the impact of long-term game play is unclear. To assess how extensive video game play impacts brain activity, young adult males (n = 49; ages 18-29) with limited video game experience performed a go/no-go task during fMRI for 3 consecutive weeks. Following a baseline scan, these men were randomly assigned to extensively play a violent video game (VG) or avoid all video game play (control) during the subsequent week. After 1 week, inhibition-related activity decreased in right inferior frontal gyrus and right cerebellum in the VG group, compared to the control sample, and self-reported executive functioning problems were higher. VG participants assigned to a second week of game play had similarly reduced bilateral prefrontal activity during inhibition, relative to the control group. However, VG participants assigned to avoid game play or play a cognitive training game during the second week demonstrated similar overall changes from baseline as the control group. This research provides preliminary evidence indicating how long-term video game play may impact brain function during inhibition, which may impair control of aggressive behavior.

KW - Cognitive control

KW - FMRI

KW - Media violence

KW - Prefrontal cortex

KW - Video game

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85048962449&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85048962449&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1037/ppm0000141

DO - 10.1037/ppm0000141

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85048962449

VL - 8

SP - 63

EP - 75

JO - Psychology of Popular Media Culture

JF - Psychology of Popular Media Culture

SN - 2160-4134

IS - 1

ER -