Trendspotting: For Love of the Game

The brains of teens who play video games for nine hours a week or more contain more gray matter at the core, says a new European study. The portion of the brain being examined has been connected with addiction in prior research, as it affects the interplay of emotions and behavior, but this was the first study to correlate video gaming with brain structure changes. Scientists said they couldn’t tell, though, whether the teens’ brains had changed from so much time spent gaming or if they’d formed their habits with that part of their brains already enlarged. Nevertheless, the study offers an interesting look at the science of addiction. Considering that approximately 91 percent of children play video games now, it’s something we all need to know more about. Of course, the number of players is going up across the board: A Chinese video game company reports a 40 percent increase in online gaming in the third quarter, while social gaming in the U.S. and U.K. has increased by 71 percent in the past 18 months. To that, we can only say: Game on.