For some time, research has strongly suggested that children and adolescents with aggressive tendencies are susceptible to the increasingly violent images in video games and on television.
A new study, however, suggests that these extremely violent images may also be damaging the brains of youths who are non-aggressive, well-behaved, and ordinary.
The study, led by Professor Vincent Matthews of Indiana University School of Medicine, found “that individuals in the control group with high media violence exposure showed a brain activation pattern similar to the pattern of the aggressive group.” The results appear in the latest issue of the Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography.
Those results showed that, in the teenagers tested, the part of the brain involved in decision-making and self control was impaired by exposure to violent scenes. Surprisingly, however, the same effect was seen in both the group with a history of violent and disruptive behavior (all diagnosed with disruptive behavior disorder [DBD] and the ordinary, well-behaved individuals (no past record of behavioral problems).
Both Professor Matthews and his co-researcher, Dr. William Kronenberg, agreed that any association found to exist between exposure to media violence and brain functioning should be taken seriously. Their research found high rates of such exposure among adolescents thereby suggesting there is a real need for further detailed investigation and study.