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Gaming Addicts Have Different Brain Wiring, New U of U Research Finds

University of Utah

New research from the University of Utah shows that the brains of video game addicts are wired differently.

Dr. Jeffery Anderson, a radiologist at the University of Utah, studied brain scans from over 100 adolescent boys whose parents had referred them to psychiatrists because of their gaming habits. He found that parts of their brains were much more connected to each other than normal. Anderson says in the brains of the gamers the parts that process vision and sound have stronger connections to the parts that process attention.

"So if you want to, for example, move your eyes to something of interest that you see outside around you, those connections are stronger in individuals with more chronic  video game playing histories," he says.

But Anderson says those strong connections aren't always a good thing and can lead to distractibility.

"The same types of brain changes that might make your attentional system more efficient when you're playing a video game, might make you have more difficulty concentrate when you're trying to do a math problem, for example," he says.

Anderson's research was done in conjunction with Chung-Ang University in South Korea. The article was published online in Addiction Biology Tuesday.

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