RSNA 2011 

Abstract Archives of the RSNA, 2011


One Week of  Violent Video Game Play Alters Prefrontal Activity

Scientific Formal (Paper) Presentations

Presented on December 2, 2011
Presented as part of SST11: ISP: Neuroradiology (Cognition II)


Yang Wang MD, Presenter: Research grant, Siemens AG
Tom Hummer PhD, Abstract Co-Author: Nothing to Disclose
William G. Kronenberger PhD, Abstract Co-Author: Investigator, Eli Lilly and Company Investigator, GlaxoSmithKline plc Stockholder, Johnson & Johnson Stockholder, General Electric Company
Kristine Marie Mosier DMD, PhD, Abstract Co-Author: Author, Amirsys, Inc
Vincent Paul Mathews MD, Abstract Co-Author: Contributor, Amirsys, Inc


In a prior study we found less activation in some regions of the prefrontal cortex following 30 minutes of violent video game play. To assess long term effects of violent video game play, we used functional MRI (fMRI) to investigate changes in brain function after one week of violent video game play in a randomized controlled experiment.


Twenty-two healthy adult males (age 18-29 years) with low past exposure to violent video games (average: 0.9±0.8 hours/week) were included in this report. Subjects were randomly assigned to two groups. In the video game group (n=11), subjects were instructed to play a violent video game for about 10 hours (average: 9.8±1.6 hours) at home in the first week, without game play for the next week. Another group (n=11) served as the control group without violent game play for two weeks. FMRI measurements were performed at baseline, 1, and 2 weeks follow-up. FMRI data were acquired on a 3T MR scanner using 2D EPI with parameters: TR/TE=2250/29ms; 39 contiguous axial slices with thickness of 3.5mm and 2.25 by 2.25 mm in-plane resolution. Two modified Stroop tasks were carried out in an event-related manner. During the emotional Stroop (ES) task, subjects pressed buttons according to the color of visually presented words. Words indicating violent actions were interspersed among the non-violent action words in a pseudorandom order. The counting Stroop (CS) task required subjects to press buttons to indicate the quantity (1-3) of a repeated numeral (1-3) that was discrepant with the quantity.


After one week of violent game play, the video game group showed less activation in the left inferior frontal lobe during ES task and less activation in anterior cingulate cortex during the CS task, in comparison to the control group and also related to their own baseline scan. Moreover, the video game group gained more prefrontal activation after the second week without game play.


Subjects showed relatively less activation in prefrontal regions associated with executive function following one week violent of video game playing. These changes were diminished after discontinuing game play.


This investigation provides the first longitudinal, experimental investigation of video game play on brain activity.

Cite This Abstract

Wang, Y, Hummer, T, Kronenberger, W, Mosier, K, Mathews, V, One Week of  Violent Video Game Play Alters Prefrontal Activity.  Radiological Society of North America 2011 Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting, November 26 - December 2, 2011 ,Chicago IL.