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For Males, Video Game Rewards Are All in the Mind
Date:2/8/2008

Study sees greater activation of key brain region than found in females

FRIDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- If you're a video game "widow," science might now be able to tell you why.

New research from Stanford scientists shows that the part of the brain associated with reward and addiction was more activated in males than in females when both genders played a game whose object was to acquire more territory.

In other words, the game was more rewarding for males, who were therefore more motivated to succeed.

The findings could have implications beyond the video screen and console, offering insights into what motivates human behavior.

"It's my sense that the results really do open a fascinating realm of future investigations," said Dr. Kathryn J. Kotrla, chairwoman of psychiatry and behavioral science at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine in Round Rock. "These investigations allow one to visualize literally the reward that different individuals experience."

"It would be fascinating either to determine what motivates women more than men or, within a specific gender, to look at the range of motivations and rewards for different variables," she added. "The study itself is looking at gaining territory but one could imagine studies that dealt with attachment or caring for others, so it really opens the door to a wide range of extremely interesting questions about human motivation."

According to background information in the study, which was recently published online in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, more than 230 million video and computer games were sold in 2005.

"Forty percent of Americans play video games, and men are two to three times more likely to feel addicted," said study author Dr. Fumiko Hoeft, senior research scientist at Stanford University School of Medicine. "It seems like an international phenomenon, but no one has looked at how the b
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