Professor Susan Greenfield, world renowned neuroscientist from the University of Oxford, discussed the impact that computer games can have on the brain in an interview on Lateline on the ABC last week. She concluded that video games change the game player’s mind, both in good and bad ways.

Professor Greenfield described our brains as being plastic, in the sense that everything we do will change them, including playing computer games. Current research shows that playing computer games can cause the brain to change such that it develops an addiction.

While she conceded that computer games may help children develop skills to do well in specific areas, such the skills to do well on an IQ test, she highlighted that the skills they teach are quite limited, and emphasised that excessive time spent playing computer games may limit the development of other skills with much more real world relevance such as interpersonal skills.

Professor Greenfield hypothesised that excessive computer game playing can limit the development of the pre-frontal cortex, the part of the brain used in ‘executive function’ skills such as self control skills. She acknowledged however that few studies have been carried out to explore the negative changes computer games can cause, and surmised that much more research is necessary before definite conclusions can be drawn.

Read the full transcript at www.abc.net.au.

Writer Tristan Boyd, Editor Dr Ramesh Manocha.