“Just 5 more minutes” is a familiar cry whenever parents inform their kids that it’s time to put away the video games and do homework, have dinner, or go to bed. But, according to new research of effects of video games for children’s brain, they may want to give kids that extra time. While video games can certainly be addictive, a German study suggests they may also increase gray matter in the brain. Read below to learn more.
Super Mario 64 Goes To School
The idea of testing whether effects of video games help brain development was the brainchild of German researchers at Humboldt University and the Max Planck Institute. Researchers had a group of adults play Super Mario 64 for 30 minutes daily for two months then compared their brains to that of a control group. They found that subjects who played Super Mario daily had a significant increase in the volume of their gray matter. The gray matter volume in the control group remained unchanged.
Increased gray matter…so what?
Gray matter is the area of the brain that houses language, memory, and muscle control. Besides developing various skills, scientists believe that the effects of video games can also help in the treatment of some mental and neurodegenerative diseases. It is important to remember that the research was conducted with just 30 minutes a day. More screen time does not translate into even more gray matter. In fact, just the opposite appears true: researchers found that those who played and then went for a period of time without playing had an even more significant gray matter increase. A relief for parents competing for their little one’s attention!