A new study by the Indiana School of Medicine has found that teenagers who play violent videogames show increased activity in the areas of the brain involved in emotional arousal.

The study, which compared brain scans of teenagers who played violent and non-violent games, reached conclusions similar to those found research done at Iowa State University, which determined that teenagers who played violent videogames demonstrated lower heart rates and lower galvanic skin responses when exposed to videos of real violence.

“Exposure to violent videogames, even E-rated videogames, increased aggressive thoughts, increases pro-social behavior and increases general arousal,” said Omaha Children’s Hospital psychologist Dr. Greg Snyder, who added that violent videogames can also desensitize kids to real violence and “normalize” killing. “The more normal it is, the more likely it is they’re going to activate or engage in those behaviors when provoked or even unprovoked,” he said.

Game industry representatives, however, noted that exposure to violence in movies and television provoked similar responses. Ryan Miller, general manager of Gamers in Omaha, said, “Just like any new media, it gets attacked. When any new genre of music comes out, it gets attacked. TV will, of course, get attacked. I’m sure, way back when, books got attacked.” Other research has also purported to show that the isolation that comes with playing endless hours of videogames, rather than the videogames themselves, are responsible for anti-social behavior.

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