Navigation Links
Video games activate reward regions of brain in men more than women, Stanford study finds
Date:2/4/2008

STANFORD, Calif. - Allan Reiss, MD, and his colleagues have a pretty good idea why your husband or boyfriend can't put down the Halo 3. In a first-of-its-kind imaging study, the Stanford University School of Medicine researchers have shown that the part of the brain that generates rewarding feelings is more activated in men than women during video-game play.

"These gender differences may help explain why males are more attracted to, and more likely to become 'hooked' on video games than females," the researchers wrote in their paper, which was recently published online in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.

More than 230 million video and computer games were sold in 2005, and polls show that 40 percent of Americans play games on a computer or a console. According to a 2007 Harris Interactive survey, young males are two to three times more likely than females to feel addicted to video games, such as the Halo series so popular in recent years.

Despite the popularity of video and computer games, little is known about the neural processes that occur as people play these games. And no research had been done on gender-specific differences in the brain's response to video games.

Reiss, senior author of the study and the Howard C. Robbins Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, has long been interested in studying gender differences; in 2005, he published a study showing that men and women process humor differently. He and his colleagues became interested in exploring the concept of territoriality, and they determined the best way to do so was with a simple computer game.

The researchers designed a game involving a vertical line (the "wall") in the middle of a computer screen. When the game begins, 10 balls appear to the right of the wall and travel left toward the wall. Each time a ball is clicked, it disappears from the screen. If the balls are kept a certain distance from the wall, the wall moves to the right and the player gains territory, or space, on the screen. If a ball hits the wall before it's clicked, the line moves to the left and the player loses territory on the screen.

During this study, 22 young adults (11 men and 11 women) played numerous 24-second intervals of the game while being hooked up to a functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, machine. fMRI is designed to produce a dynamic image showing which parts of the brain are working during a given activity.

Study participants were instructed to click as many balls as possible; they weren't told that they could gain or lose territory depending on what they did with the balls. Reiss said all participants quickly learned the point of the game, and the male and female participants wound up clicking on the same number of balls. The men, however, wound up gaining a significantly greater amount of space than the women. That's because the men identified which balls - the ones closest to the "wall" - would help them acquire the most space if clicked.

"The females 'got' the game, and they moved the wall in the direction you would expect," said Reiss, who is director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research. "They appeared motivated to succeed at the game. The males were just a lot more motivated to succeed."

After analyzing the imaging data for the entire group, the researchers found that the participants showed activation in the brain's mesocorticolimbic center, the region typically associated with reward and addiction. Male brains, however, showed much greater activation, and the amount of activation was correlated with how much territory they gained. (This wasn't the case with women.) Three structures within the reward circuit - the nucleus accumbens, amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex - were also shown to influence each other much more in men than in women. And the better connected this circuit was, the better males performed in the game.

The findings indicate, the researchers said, that successfully acquiring territory in a computer game format is more rewarding for men than for women. And Reiss, for one, isn't surprised. "I think it's fair to say that males tend to be more intrinsically territorial," he said. "It doesn't take a genius to figure out who historically are the conquerors and tyrants of our species-they're the males."

Reiss said this research also suggests that males have neural circuitry that makes them more liable than women to feel rewarded by a computer game with a territorial component and then more motivated to continue game-playing behavior. Based on this, he said, it makes sense that males are more prone to getting hooked on video games than females.

"Most of the computer games that are really popular with males are territory- and aggression-type games," he pointed out.

Reiss said the team's findings may apply to other types of video and computer games. "This is a fairly representative, generic computer game," he said, adding that he and his colleagues are planning further work in this area.


'/>"/>

Contact: Michelle Brandt
mbrandt@stanford.edu
650-723-0272
Stanford University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Video: Nutrition Comes to NASCAR
2. Research Links TV/Video Game Playing With Child Obesity; Health Experts Back a New Approach
3. HealthInsuranceFinders.com Launches Video Contest for Young Directors
4. Video: Circulatory Care of New Jersey
5. MultiVu Video Feed: PUBLIC HEALTH EXPERTS CONVENE TO DISCUSS THE TREATMENT AND PREVENTION OF RABIES
6. VIDEO from Medialink and General Motors: On and Off the Track
7. TriWest and Montana VA Launch PTSD Video Conference to Reach Rural Health Care Providers
8. Verizon Introduces Broadband Video Call Center Link for Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing Customers in Mid-Atlantic Region
9. VIDEO from Medialink and Siemens: The Next Generation Allergy Test - Nothing to Sneeze At
10. Video and Photo: Leading CEOs Launch Alliance With American Red Cross to Strengthen Nations Preparedness for Disasters
11. VIDEO from Medialink and General Mills: Digestive Health
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... March 29, 2017 , ... Immunotherapy has emerged as one of the most ... touted to be the next revolution in our fight against this complex disease. One ... of immune checkpoint inhibitors such as PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors. , While a few ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... March 29, ... ... suburbs and South Hills of Pittsburgh now have easier access to the ... only by Allegheny Health Network (AHN). Orthopaedic surgeons at Forbes Hospital and ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... March 29, 2017 , ... The Wharton School of ... Julie Taffet Moelis, W’81, have made a $10 million gift to establish the ... that will provide a pathway to a Wharton MBA for highly-qualified Penn undergraduates whose ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... ... March 29, 2017 , ... VisualSP has helped over ... recently, the only option for on-premises installation of its Help System for SharePoint was ... install the system into the entire tenant. , The company recently released a ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... ... ... Tuesday, March 28, 2017, is the annual American Diabetes Association Alert Day, ... find out if they are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. In recognition ... by programming the LAX pylons the color red. Downtown’s U.S. Bank Tower Crown Lights ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:3/29/2017)...  Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, a global pharmaceutical company, today ... fixed-dose combination of mometasone furoate (25 mcg) and ... nasal spray being studied for the treatment of ... recently completed Phase 3 trial assessing the efficacy ... mometasone, olopatadine or placebo. "We continue ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... , March 29, 2017  The Pharmaceutical Care Management ... new PhRMA report on patient out-of-pocket spending: ... and Medicaid Services (CMS), the average amount spent out-of-pocket ... of drug spending in 2016, down from 23% in ... pricing problem, not a coverage problem. Health plans don,t ...
(Date:3/29/2017)...  NuVasive, Inc. (NASDAQ: NUVA), a leading medical ... minimally disruptive, procedurally-integrated solutions, today announced U.S. Food ... CoRoent® Small Interbody™ System indicated for intervertebral body ... spine. This marks the first U.S. clearance for ... to four contiguous levels. Cervical radiculopathy ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: