An American study linked computer games to attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) when it found people who play computer games for around 40 hours a week are more likely to have difficulty paying attention than people who only play computer games for a couple of hours a week.
The researchers who conducted the study conceded that there more research is necessary as the effects of playing computer games for a moderate amount of time, for example 10 or 20 hours a week, remain unknown.
Study author Dr Robert West explained the real world implications of the study. “[The] real world effect that you might be seeing is that these are individuals who would really have difficulty trying to maintain their attention independently over time,” he said.
“So if they’re engaged in some activity that doesn’t really capture their attention – like maybe a classroom lecture, or studying in a quiet space – they’re going to have difficulty maintaining attention on their own.”
This research contrasts with recent studies which have found a number of benefits to playing computer games, including one study which found people who play the computer game Tetris develop more grey matter in their brains than people who don’t, improving complex planning skills, critical thinking, reasoning and language.
More information on the current study can be found at the Iowa State University Website.
Writer Tristan Boyd, Editor Dr Ramesh Manocha.