Games for Brains

Exploring the smart side of video games.

Playing games is awesome, but we need to be responsible players, aware of how our brain works and that some games are designed with that very knowledge in mind. Learn more in The Atlantic:

Exploiting the Neuroscience of Internet Addiction

Thanks to neuroscience, we’re beginning to understand that achieving a goal or anticipating the reward of new content for completing a task can excite the neurons in the ventral tegmental area of the midbrain, which releases the neurotransmitter dopamine into the brain’s pleasure centers. This in turn causes the experience to be perceived as pleasurable. As a result, some people can become obsessed with these pleasure-seeking experiences and engage in compulsive behavior such as a need to keep playing a game, constantly check email, or compulsively gamble online.

The article closes with good advice:

I’m learning that to function effectively and happily in an increasingly virtual world, I have to commit a significant amount to time to living without it.

That’s what we always say. Play games for a while, then go get some fresh air, read a book, call a friend. Games are great, but so are many other things. We need to be in control of how we spend our time.

  • 21 July 2012
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