Study finds heavy video gaming can hurt attention span

LOS ANGELES. October 23. KAZINFORM Playing video games too much affects people's ability to stay focused on tasks requiring close attention, says a study published this week in the U.S, Kazinform refers to Xinhua.

The Iowa State University study, published in the latest issue of the professional journal Psychophysiology, found those who played video games for about 40 hours a week had more difficulty focusing their attention than those who played video games less than a couple of hours a week.

    The study supports research published within the past year, which established a positive association between being addicted to playing video games and having Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).

    Rob West, one of the authors of the study and Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Cognitive Psychology Program at Iowa State University, said those individuals who played video game too much really had difficulty trying to maintain their attention independently over time.

    The study was led by psychology graduate student Kira Bailey. The authors also included Distinguished Professor of Psychology Craig Anderson, Director of Iowa State University's Center for the Study of Violence, who was recently chosen as one of the three 2010 American Psychological Association Distinguished Scientist Lecturers.

    Researchers collected data from 51 undergraduate men aged between 18 and 33 who were nearly evenly divided between those who reported playing less than a couple of hours of video games per week, and those who played video games an average of 43 hours per week.

    Activity in each subject's brain was electronically recorded while they were engaged in the computer-based Stroop Task, a standard measure used to determine attention.

    Individuals identified the color of a word when the color and word matched, or did not match. It takes longer to indicate the color when the word does not match.

    The study found that reactive attention control, described as happening "just in time", was similar in the two groups of gamers. But brain wave and behavioral measures of proactive attention were significantly diminished in the frequent video game players, KAzinform cites Xinhua. See for full version.

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