Most women just don’t get it: she keeps walking through the family room as she finishes up the work for the night and she studies him as she goes by. He’s sitting on the edge of his seat, elbows on his knees, controller in his hand with his thumbs flying from analog stick to buttons. His eyes are wild and every now and then he yells at the television or throws up his hands in exasperation.
A new study says there is a reason why women “just don’t get it.” While the above scenario is common, some men repeat an evening like this until they begin to experience a breakdown in other areas of life. Pathological video gaming can cause ruptures in social and family life and affect academic and professional performance.
Researchers have known for a long time that women are generally not affected by video games the same way men are. Women do not tend to organize gaming events for a girls’ night out, nor are they likely to fall asleep on the couch trying to get to the next level of a game.
While it is interesting to think about why women and men respond differently to video games, it is critical to understand why men are more susceptible to video game addictions that can crush them in other areas of life. Pathological video game use looks similar to other types of addictions: when men get addicted to video games, other areas of life suffer.
Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine studied the brain imagery of 22 adults. They examined 11 men and 11 women while they were participating in a simple computer game in which gaining territory was the objective.
The study was published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research. The results indicated that while both men and women showed activity in the parts of the brain that are associated with addiction and reward, the activity was much more pronounced in men.
In addition, the study’s results showed that as men gained more territory in the game, the activity in the brain increased. The same increase was not shown in females as they gained territory.
The men were also found to be more aggressive while playing the game, and quicker to gain territory. The researchers, led by Dr. Allen Reiss believe that these findings may indicate why men are initially more attracted to video games and are more easily addicted to playing them.
While a woman may still be stunned at the strange person who occupies the body of her husband when he plays video games, this research may help her understand why she’s not jumping in to play alongside him.