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PLoS One. 2014 Mar 14;9(3):e91506. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091506. eCollection 2014.

Positive association of video game playing with left frontal cortical thickness in adolescents.

Author information

  • 1Ghent University, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Department of Experimental Psychology and Ghent Institute for Functional and Metabolic Imaging, Ghent, Belgium; Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité University Medicine, St Hedwig Krankenhaus, Campus Mitte, Berlin, Germany; Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Berlin and Braunschweig, Germany.
  • 2Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité University Medicine, St Hedwig Krankenhaus, Campus Mitte, Berlin, Germany.
  • 3Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany.
  • 4Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, United Kingdom.
  • 5Universitaetsklinikum Hamburg Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.
  • 6Department of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience, Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany.
  • 7Institute of Neuroscience, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.
  • 8Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), Berlin and Braunschweig, Germany.
  • 9Department of Addictive Behaviour and Addiction Medicine, Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany.
  • 10Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, INSERM Unit 1000 "Imaging & Psychiatry," University Paris Sud, Orsay, France; AP-HP Department of Adolescent Psychopathology and Medicine, Maison de Solenn, University Paris Descartes, Paris, France.
  • 11Rotman Research Institute, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montreal, Canada; School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom.
  • 12Department of Genetic Epidemiology in Psychiatry, Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany.
  • 13Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany; Neuroimaging Center, Department of Psychology, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany.
  • 14Ghent University, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Department of Experimental Psychology and Ghent Institute for Functional and Metabolic Imaging, Ghent, Belgium.
  • 15Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité University Medicine, St Hedwig Krankenhaus, Campus Mitte, Berlin, Germany; Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.

Abstract

Playing video games is a common recreational activity of adolescents. Recent research associated frequent video game playing with improvements in cognitive functions. Improvements in cognition have been related to grey matter changes in prefrontal cortex. However, a fine-grained analysis of human brain structure in relation to video gaming is lacking. In magnetic resonance imaging scans of 152 14-year old adolescents, FreeSurfer was used to estimate cortical thickness. Cortical thickness across the whole cortical surface was correlated with self-reported duration of video gaming (hours per week). A robust positive association between cortical thickness and video gaming duration was observed in left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and left frontal eye fields (FEFs). No regions showed cortical thinning in association with video gaming frequency. DLPFC is the core correlate of executive control and strategic planning which in turn are essential cognitive domains for successful video gaming. The FEFs are a key region involved in visuo-motor integration important for programming and execution of eye movements and allocation of visuo-spatial attention, processes engaged extensively in video games. The results may represent the biological basis of previously reported cognitive improvements due to video game play. Whether or not these results represent a-priori characteristics or consequences of video gaming should be studied in future longitudinal investigations.

PMID:
24633348
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3954649
Free PMC Article
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