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Andrew Falk
Andrew Falk

Fhn Video рџ¤’


In summary, video games are quite popular and frequently used. One reason for that might be that video gaming may fulfill general human needs (Przybylski et al., 2010). Satisfied needs increase psychological well-being, which in turn is probably experienced as rewarding. Neuroimaging studies support this view by showing that video gaming is associated with alterations in the striatal reward system. Reward processing on the other hand is an essential mechanism for any human stimulus-response learning process. Green and Bavelier (2012) described video game training as a training for learning how to learn (learning of stimulus-response patterns is crucial to complete a video game successfully). We believe that video game training targets the striatal reward system (amongst other areas) and may lead to changes in reward processing. Therefore, in this study, we focus on striatal reward processing before and after video game training.




Fhn Video рџ¤’



Results of video game training effect. For posttest the effect of gain anticipation (XX_) against no gain anticipation (XY_) is shown using a coronal cut (Y = 11) in the upper row for control group (CG) and training group (TG). Imaging results of the interaction group by time are shown in the middle and bottom left panel (axial cut at Z = -8). ROI analysis for this interaction is in the middle (literature-based ROI in green) and bottom (bar graph of the ROI analysis displayed with standard error of means) right panel. Imaging results are threshold with p


The observed effect of video game training on the reward system was also driven by a decrease in striatal activity in the CG during posttest, which may in part be explained by a motivational decline in the willingness to complete the slot machine task at the re-test. A study by Shao et al. (2013) demonstrated that even a single training session with a slot machine task before the actual scanning session led to decreases in striatal reward activity during win processing compared to a group that did not undergo a training session. A further study by Fliessbach et al. (2010) investigated the re-test reliability of three reward tasks and showed that the re-test reliability in VS during gain anticipation were rather poor, in contrast to motor-related reliabilities in primary motor cortex that were characterized as good. A possible explanation of these findings might be the nature of such reward tasks. The identical reward at both time points may not lead to the same reward signal at the second time of task performance, because the subjective reward feeling may be attenuated by a lack of novelty.


Obviously, in the present study the re-test was completed by both groups, but the decrease of the striatal reward activity was only observed in the CG, not in the TG. This preservation result in the TG may in part be related to the video game training as discussed above. Nevertheless, the CG was a no-contact group and did not complete an active control condition and thus, the findings might also represent a purely placebo like effect in the TG. However, even if not the specific video game training itself was the main reason for the preserved striatal response, our study may be interpreted as evidence arguing that video games lead to a rather strong placebo-like effect in a therapeutic or training-based setting. If video games would represent a stronger placebo effect than placebo medication or other placebo-like tasks is an open question. Moreover, during the scanning session itself participants were in the same situation in the scanner and one can expect that both groups produce the same social desirability effects. Still, the preservation effect should be interpreted very carefully, because placebo effect might confound the result (Boot et al., 2011). Future studies focusing on the reward system should include an active control condition in the study design.


Another possible limitation of the study might be that we did not control the video gaming behavior of the CG. We instructed the participants of the CG not to change their video gaming behavior in the waiting period and not to play Super Mario 64 (DS). However, video gaming behavior in the CG might have changed and could have affected the results. Future studies should include active control groups and assess video gaming behavior during the study period in detail. 041b061a72


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