Game Brain


game brain

Game brain is a term coined by Japanese physiologist Akio Mori referring to the long term effects of video games on the human brain. Mori originally coined the term and presented the concept in his 2002 book ‘The Terror of Game Brain.’ Mori performed an experiment at Tokyo’s Nihon University designed to measure the effect of video games on human brain activity by examining beta waves (brainwaves associated with normal waking consciousness).

Mori claims his study revealed that people who spend long periods playing video games have reduced activity in the brain’s pre-frontal region, which governs emotion and creativity. Mori asserts that side effects can include loss of concentration, an inability to control temper, and problems socializing or associating with others. His theory has gained some recognition in popular culture, especially among parents who believe that video gaming can have detrimental effects on child development.

It has in many instances affected local policy and decision-making regarding the selling of games to minors. Often, when cases of juvenile delinquency and child misbehavior are suspected to be a result of over-exposure to video games, Japanese media will often show game brain as a possible explanation. Mori insisted that use of the internet was the cause of the Sasebo slashing (an incident where a 12-year-old murdered her classmate).

Mori’s theory was criticized as unwarranted research by established neuroscientists and brain specialists, because he used unreliable measures and misinterpreted the fluctuation of beta waves. One of his critics, Dennis Schutter, a neuroscientist specialising in the EEG signatures of different emotional states has stated, ‘My guess is that fatigue is the most likely cause of the absence of the beta waves and not the gaming per se.’ Mori’s book was nominated for the ‘Japan Outrageous Book Award’ in 2003. Ryuta Kawashima later developed the game ‘Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day!’ Kawashima claimed that Game Brain was ‘superstition.’


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