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Video Games, Psychology, and the Brain Tim Brunelle.

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1 Video Games, Psychology, and the Brain Tim Brunelle

2 Why study video games? In the U.S., 99% of boys under 18 and 94% of girls under 18 play videogames regularly The average young person spends 10,000 hours playing video games by the age of 21 – just 24 hours less than they spend in high school and middle school combined, if they have perfect attendance That’s a lot of time!

3 Why study video games? 2 out of 3 teen play action or adventure games – these often have violent content 32% of gaming teens report that at least one of their favorite games is rated M (or worse) year-olds are just as likely to play these games as year-olds So teenagers are playing a lot of these games

4 How do we study video games? The most common tool in psychology is actually pretty simple  surveys We randomly called a bunch of families (like 6,500) with teenagers around the age of 13 and we asked a bunch of questions about video games and behavior We called the same families back every year until the participants were 19, so we could look at changes over time

5 What have we found? 13 year olds who played a lot of violent video games (like Grand Theft Auto) were more likely to drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, drive recklessly, and get in fights as they got older Looks like playing violent video games increases impulsivity, which leads to increases in deviant behavior Violent Video Games Impulsivity Deviant Behavior

6 Why does playing these video games cause people to make bad decisions? What are decisions? How do we make them? Psychologists think there are two systems that work together to make decisions – they call this dual processing System 1 makes decisions quickly and automatically, based on desires and impulses System 2 makes decisions slowly and logically, based on goals and rules

7 An experiment with dual processing

8 So what’s going on in your brain? Humans are really good at using System 2 Most animals aren’t so good at this – they rely more on System 1 – or instinct System 1 System 2

9 So what’s going on in your brain? Certain video games might make players less likely to put on the brakes and use System 2 So they become more impulsive, and less likely to stop themselves from breaking the rules

10 Controlled processing demonstration


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