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Brains on video games

Nature Reviews Neuroscience volume 12, pages 763768 (2011) | Download Citation


The popular press is replete with stories about the effects of video and computer games on the brain. Sensationalist headlines claiming that video games 'damage the brain' or 'boost brain power' do not do justice to the complexities and limitations of the studies involved, and create a confusing overall picture about the effects of gaming on the brain. Here, six experts in the field shed light on our current understanding of the positive and negative ways in which playing video games can affect cognition and behaviour, and explain how this knowledge can be harnessed for educational and rehabilitation purposes. As research in this area is still in its early days, the contributors of this Viewpoint also discuss several issues and challenges that should be addressed to move the field forward.

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D.H.H. thanks the Korean Game Culture Foundation for data and technical support.

Author information


  1. Daphne Bavelier is at the Brain & Vision Lab, Department of Brain & Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14627, USA.

    • Daphne Bavelier
  2. C. Shawn Green is at the Center for Cognitive Science, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.

    • C. Shawn Green
  3. Doug Hyun Han is at the Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Chung Ang University, 224-1 HeukSeok-Dong, Dong Jack-Gu, Seoul, Korea 156-755.

    • Doug Hyun Han
  4. Perry F. Renshaw is at the Department of Psychiatry and the Brain Institute, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84108, USA.

    • Perry F. Renshaw
  5. Michael M Merzenich is at the W.M. Keck Foundation Center for Integrative Neuroscience, University of California San Francisco, California 94143, USA.

    • Michael M. Merzenich
  6. Douglas A. Gentile is at the Media Research Lab, Department of Psychology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA.

    • Douglas A. Gentile


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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Daphne Bavelier or C. Shawn Green or Doug Hyun Han or Perry F. Renshaw or Michael M. Merzenich or Douglas A. Gentile.

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