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Skilled video gamers have bigger brain structures, more success, study says

Maybe video games are good for kids after all? Well, don't throw your kids in front of a TV and the gaming console of your choice just yet, but a new scientific study has found that the size of certain brain structures predict achievement, and gamers have been found to have bigger brains and more success.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor on

A new scientific study has found that the size of certain brain structures predict achievement, and gamers have been found to have bigger brains and more success.

According to a study published in the science journal Cerebral Cortex, scientists can predict how well a person will perform on a video game just by measuring the volume of specific brain structures.

Within the study, 39 adults (age 18-28, only 10 of whom were male) had their brains scanned before playing "Space Fortress," a game developed by students at the University of Illinois in which the players were required to destroy a fortress without losing their own ship. (Sounds thrilling.)

The results were that gamers with a larger nucleus accumbens ("the brain's reward center") did better on the initial levels of the game, while those with larger caudate nucleus and putamen (center for learning "procedures" and "new skills") did better at playing with more variables and distractions.

Maybe video games are good for kids after all? Well, don't throw your kids in front of a TV and the gaming console of your choice just yet, since it's not clear that if playing more really makes your brain any bigger. Now the task is how researchers will use these findings, possibly for special education - especially patients with learning disabilities or dementia.

What do you think about the findings? Think you'll be sharpening your video game skills anytime soon?

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